Sunday, December 27, 2009



Christmas and the holidays have proven indescribably horrendous this year; however, the determination to continue writing through it all--despite it all--has remained (for the most part) undiminished. Having entered a few very bad poetry "chapbooks" in various contests, the objective is to work as long, as diligently, and as consistently now that my laptop has been repaired and restored. Though progress is hard to measure at this point,  my hope centers on that well-used adage "even a broken clock is right twice a day."

Something has to turn up.

In the meantime, tomorrow is gone and cannot be changed. The future is beyond my present comprehension. All that is left for me--indeed, for any of us--to do is learn from the former, strive for the most favorable results with regards to the later...and keep doing the best that can be done with that which is known at the time.

But, y'know what?

'Tain't always easy, ya'll!!!!

(Keep writing, everyone.)

By the way,

If you are ever in Colorado Springs and in need of a little TLC for your Mac,  top in the Macstore and ask for "Phil." He's really a great guy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Taking a Long, Deep, Cleansing Breath

When my beleaguered iBook died last month (probably from over-use and exhaustion), my initial reaction was to take this momentous event as yet another sign from God and the Heavens above that this little black duck was simply not meant to write. How, after all, could I make the money to repair or replace the thing when I did not have it as a means to make the money?


At times, it was a dark, dark place.

All the same, a wonderful group of individuals stepped in and bolstered my dwindling reserves of optimism at a time when such support was--well--vital. Now, "new" laptop in hand (with, I might add, the majority of my information in tact) I am forcing myself to take just a moment to relax and "reset". Even though I have been virtually out-of-work for a month, despite the bills piling up on my tables and floors, even with the holidays
peeking over the fence into my back yard (not to mention my middle daughter's eighteenth birthday the day after Christmas), I have convinced myself to stop, take a long, deep, cleansing breath, then again grasp hold of the fervid belief that I can, will, and must retain my faith in myself, my dream, my "talents," and my love for my "craft" in order to continue on...

And on...

And on...

And on...

Until my work is "done."


Keep writin' ya'll!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Christmas Essay

At this time of year, many people quote the line, Jesus is the reason for the season: yet this is not entirely accurate. The "Savior" featured in the New Testament was not evident that Earth-changing day long ago: only a tiny newborn baby. Upon Its birth, that baby spouted no profound parables , preached no sermons, uttered no great truths. Further, He had saved no lives, performed no miracles...known no suffering, or made any sacrificed on this Earth--great or small; and in truth, there was no guarantee--at the time--that It would. Those choices, as listed in the Bible and recorded in the annals of collective spiritual history, came much later--the operative word being choices.

At that time, at the time of birth, nevertheless, none of this had taken place. Moreover, none of the oft-remembered attendants of this celebration had any inkling that it would. They gathered together in anticipation of what would be, not what was.

It seems to me that individuals become so engrossed in forcing their beliefs upon others that they, in doing so, lose sight of the basics of those ideals themselves. At Christmastime, it is not His future which we commemorate but the simple, glorious promise inherent in that single, quiet miracle of birth. We, like those animals, those shepherds, kings and wise men gathered around the manger, celebrate hope and faith; limitless joy: the innocence of trust; that childlike awe experienced when encountering that which is new and breathtaking--never before seen, of which we had never before conceived. We are reminded of the incontrovertible values of selfless giving, of embracing hope of peace...and of that purest form of goodwill which both transcends the boundaries of nationality, social status, and economic standing in order to draw us--as human beings--across those meaningless divides so that we might share in what is truly important, not to mention infinitely more magnificent than anything we have or had in our lives before imagined:

Promise.

The Promise of (indeed, the birth of) a limitless Love.

...So, I suppose it is my hope that during this season of lights and marvels, of beauty and majesty, of childhood and optimism, of exultant spirits and joyous giving none of us forget that in truth, for not only the believers in the Divinity of Christ but for every human being--young or old, of every race, creed, color, nationality, or religion--the True "reason for the season" is Love. It is Love which should be, is, and always has been the basis for honoring this magnificent day we call Christmas. How wrong it is, therefore, to accuse "the powers that be" of diminishing that message when it is those who attach to it self-righteous, often sanctimonious qualifications who are most often guilty of forgetting this fact!

The only differentiation between the "believer" and the "non-believer" is that one faction maintains that Jesus is Love. And, in all candor, if the objective is honestly to illustrate to others that this is the case, the means to accomplish this can never be anything less than offering love to others...rather than criticism and condemnation.

If one truly "believes," then the expectation should be that--having done this--Someone Greater can and will easily step in to do the rest!

My wish for this and every other Christmas is that every single human being who comes into contact with its concept remembers--in fact revels in the recollection--that the one thing we must never forget at this time of year

Is to love one another.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Day

As usual, finding significant work (in term of size, responsibility, and the ever-present pay) during the holidays is proving something of a challenge. Still in all, despite the invariable setbacks which typify "writing" as a career, there is nothing I would rather do with my time, no other way in which I would ever chose to make my living.

Still, a nice, big fascinating assignment would make my holidays a little happier, ya'll!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Redefining a Love Affair

When months ago I made the decision to again viewing my writing as--instead of a commercial endeavor--an enduring passion, I did so with the same drive and determination as I have faced most important decision in my life. In the beginning, the enthusiasm was as potent as any drug, I suppose. Nothing was more thrilling to me than pouring over my research, playing those sly little love gaames with words and punctuation, and delving into the cobweb-filled corridors of my long-unused imagination.

And I loved it.

When it happened that my body could not keep up with the frantic pace of my frenetically racing mind, my love affair with the written word was soured by my constant exhaustion. There is so much one wanted to give: in time, in care, in terms of quality and simple, basic respect. And "art," I was reminded, is any form, a demanding "lover." It settles for nothing less than complete and concentrated devotion, its expectations deeming unimportant the practical constraints of time. (Did I mention that at the time, I loved it?)

Now.

I sit at a loss.

What next?

How, exactly, do I progress, now that there is not doubt in my mind (or any one else's) that I am no longer up to giving to this relationship all that it asks...

And deserves?







Saturday, November 7, 2009

Freelance Heartaches


Yesterday, I accessed my voice mail to be greeted by this message from a relative in Denver:

"I just called to see if your fat butt got a job!"

It is odd to me that there are those who do not consider freelance projects to be actual work. (Then again, I have a sibling who swears I have "never done a day's work" in my life, which calls into question, I guess, the judge rather than the one being judged.) to work from home amid the daily distractions of everyday living requires a special kind of discipline. It is imperative to enjoy the work being done, to find fulfillment in it--otherwise, the insidious beckoning of those dishes piled up in the dishwasher, the three loads of laundry waiting to be tackled, or that favorite rerun of Masterpiece Theatre or The Gilmore Girls prove impossible to ignore.

Truly, this is not the best option for everyone. Many need the structure of a "typical nine-to-five". I have one long-time acquaintance who actually rents office space on a busy downtown street because, "I just can't spend all that time alone in front of the computer. I need to be able to see and hear that rat race as I type."

To each his own....

Still, the selling point for choosing the freelance option (at least for me) is the flexibility it affords. The truth is, I am probably a more grueling (and critical) taskmaster than any boss or supervisor ever could be. The constant reminders of the mundane projects baked up behind me provide the incentive necessary to keep me on track and progressing at a brisk pace.
Being, furthermore, one of those irksome perfectionists who needs to get everything done ahead of time, working independently does not pose a problem for me.

Knowing when to call it a day, however, does.

As much as I love Colorado, my body has yet to bounce back from the transition. This last week, I must say, has been--as a result--an absolute killer! If one can picture a near-forty woman huddled beneath a coverlet banging away at her laptop as she all but convulses with chills, he (or she) has a pretty doggone good mental image of me. In some ways, much was accomplished: in other ways, I feel as though I am falling steadily behind. All the same, I have adored every minute of it. Working on such a wide range of different projects (spanning so many different literary forms and disciplines) is never boring. In fact, it thrills me. And, being at the mercy of no one's schedule but one's own (for the most part) is to me a beautiful thing.

Even if it means that others think my "fat butt" (all the better to sit at my computer with, my dear) isn't holding down an actual "job."

So, for all you freelance writers, editors, and ghostwriters out there, never let anyone compel you to feel as though your work, your time, your efforts are of any less value than anyone else's just because you chose to meet your deadlines in a baby-doll nightie and fuzzy Eeyore slippers. The quality of written work stands, regardless of the conditions under which that work was completed; thus and therefore, my friends...

Just keep writing, ya'll.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Solitude, Attitude, Fortitude

Who would have thought that this simple business of freelance work could become so very frustrating--not to mention complicated?!?!?



















When I first mentioned the intention to "work from home," the response was usually, "You'll never get anything done: too many distractions." According to the general consensus, I would find myself--rather than knuckling under and focusing on the task at hand--flipping on the television, meandering to the kitchen for tea, finishing up that never-ending list of household chores (which always seems much easier to tackle in solitude). I would never, I was warned, get any real work accomplished.





Little did I suspect that the opposite would be the case! All too often, I find myself up at three p.m. still tapping away at the keys, certain that were I to put even the simplest thing off, it would somehow fail to get done. Perhaps this would not be so bad, if one does not happen to be one of those infuriatingly perfection-driven souls who cannot settle for a good job...or even a great job...but must always strive to surpass even The Best.



(For the record, compulsive people don't have any sense of moderation, ya'll.)

Yes, the freedom to earn my daily bread barefoot, stretched out on the carpet in a tank top in shorts is definite thrill. Alright: to be blunt, it is downright additive. At this point when a client suggest Skype, addtional face-to-face meetings, or other scenarios which require putting an actual brush to my hair and donning adult attire, every cell within my body has a tendency to actually CRINGE.

Yes, I'm utterly spoiled, people.

Even so, the casual environment tends to urge me to be more fastidious rather than less so. With the work staring at me constantly, the temptation to "just push through" is nearly impossible to escape; thus, I finding myself working longer hours, obsessing over finer details than I would were I putting in the traditional 9 to 5 in someone else's office.

This is my name on the line, after all!

My reputation is at stake.

And, there is no one to take the blame for that un-dotted "i" or uncrossed "t" but ME!

Additionally, with the children away, there are few (if any) diversions from the lure of the computer screen. Left on my own, it is easy to forgo such inconveniences as...say...eating, sleeping, or taking a breather in the interest of "just getting this one LAST paragraph edited."

Even now, as I find myself taking on the task of "writing coach" (or, as somewhat facetiously retitled by the client) "developmental editor" to an individual whose solemn belief is that the "more the merrier" (as opposed to my staunch, heartfelt position that "too many cooks spoil the soup) with regards to the number of editors, coaches, and contributors invited "on board," I catch myself putting in more work, more effort, more time than the project (and pay for the project) should entail.

The writer in me is so fiercely protective of the artist's "voice" that I find myself examining then re-examining elements of style in order to make sure--in my corrections, suggestions, and general notations--that I am not imposing my own will upon the client, injecting my own literary preferences and tendencies into another person's work.

Even when taking a project I dislike...




.















Such as this one.

It isn't that I lack faith in the manuscript itself. The individual has taken a timely, undeniably pertinent topic and examined it in such a way that would be (and will be) of particular interest, given the times. The problem, unfortunately, is that I am not, when it comes to writing and/or editing, a team player, by any means; nor do I like the constant contradiction of my work by others. In my mind, I'm pretty doggone good at what I do; as such, the repeated interjection of seemingly less qualified influences--quite frankly--sets my blood t'boilin'!

I can't work that way.

Better to make my contributions then step away as the finished piece is reformed, refinished, and re-evaluated by some unknown entity I shall never meet offering opinions I shall never hear!

Why, then, am I working so diligently on a project from which I have already disassociated myself.

Yes, even after explaining to the writer my position--making it clear that after the agreed-upon trial read-through, it seemed advantageous to all concerned if we parted company--I cannot, somehow, let the whole thing go. Having signed on, even if under false notions of the capacity in which my services would be required, the perfectionist in me just can't leave a task--any task--undone.

Ergo, the only course of action is to--in my solitude--adopt a no-nonsense attitude summon up the fortitude to strike that ever-elusive balance between a job well-done...and a job overdone.

Any suggestions??????????????????

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Branching Out

This week finds me taking on several new projects in an effort to break free of the restrictive confines of ghostwriting, with its soul-draining demands for unqualified anonymity. Admittedly, I have found myself offered my services at ridiculously reduced rates for no other reason than to establish a client base here in Colorado; yet the independence is exhilarating. Certainly, once the volume of work "picks up," I won't be able to be as adventurous in my selections (after all, it is not the quality of my work which is in any way diminished by the lowering of fees but rather the amount of extra time and extra attention to detail) but until then...

Anyone in need of a good writing coach, people?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happenstance?

Yesterday, I learned my father quite possibly--indeed, most probably--has cancerous matter within his colon...

Today would have been my mother's seventy-eighth birthday.

My father's surgery is, at present, scheduled for the twenty-second of October...

Right between the birthdays of his youngest (the twenty-first) and eldest (the twenty-third) sons.

Life is just filled with little ironies...isn't it?


Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Life to Live



These last two days have been quite eventful ones for me. First of all, the first broadcast of my son's fledgling talk radio show aired last evening. It was both exhilarating and nerve-racking to sit back as my "baby" took up the microphone and boldly expressed his views. I suppose a mother never quite gets it into her head or her heart that her children are no longer children; thus, even as one bites the lip, sits on the hands, and resolves herself to let them spread their wings and soar to heights unknown, the urge to snatch any available limb and drag them back into childhood grows ever-stronger, ever more compelling each day.

Still, had I not wanted him to voice his views, I should not have crusaded, "soapboxed," and preached the importance of social change and personal ethics (like a crazy woman, ya'll) all these years. Thus, I can only sit back, be proud, and let him-- indeed, let all three of them, break through the stratosphere--trusting that somehow I managed to provide them each with the tools, the knowledge, and the advice necessary to help them develop into the best people they can possibly be...



(But t'ain't easy, ya'll!)



Another odd development involved my father, of all people. my relationship with the Hill family can be described as contentious at best, with my assuming the role of the rebellious, hard-headed, trouble-making outcast destined to pose an ever-present threat of embarrassment for the others. This I have accepted over the years--sometimes with amusement, others with chagrin: in anger, resentment, exasperation, indifference, curiosity, and even resolve. Still, through it all, my connection with my biological father has remained a tenuous one at best.

Certainly, I could easily devote an hour to my rantings and ravings on the subject of my father--his mistakes, his (probably unintentional) cruelty, the deplorable way he treated my mother: the list goes on and on. How does one develop or even harbor the faintest glimmer of hope for healthy interaction with someone who has for eight-five years remained so totally self-absorbed as to have no real concept of the needs, feeling, or emotions of others? Over the years, I have found my attitude oscillating between tearful animosity and bone-melting pity towards the man.

Then, this morning, in a rare e-mail from my oldest sister, I learned that my father had received the results of a test he mentioned to me in passing earlier this week. In his latest barrage of tests, the doctors apparently found within his colon definite cause for alarm, necessitating surgery on the 22nd. In truth, I had no idea how I felt about the matter. My father has not, to any significant degree, been a real parent to me, although there have been the odd bright moments here and there. So busy was the man attempting to control everything and everyone around him that he robbed himself and those around him of the opportunity to enjoy healthy, happy, productive lives. Now, at eighty-five, with a lifetime of regrets behind him, he sits alone in a prison he unknowingly constructed for himself--his wife gone, his children at the distance for which he alone is responsible--facing the end of his existence on this Earth; and one cannot help but feel a tinge of sadness for all that he did not and will never know.

It is odd, after years of being the "bad" one and the "misfit" to find myself identified as "the only one who calls regularly" (even though this particular moniker was also bestowed upon me by my mother in the years before she died). All my life, it has seemed to me, my father and I have been at loggerheads--my accusing and demanding "satisfaction" and his criticizing and hiding behind "plausible deniability." Any girlish dreams of sappy Hallmark moments, of tenderness and cathartic revelation were abandoned so long ago that I can not, at present, recall them--even though, realistically, I know they must have once existed. Does not every young girl long to be "Daddy's little girl," swept up into strong, protective arms then swung high and with exuberant affection towards the awaiting heavens? Last year, in fact, the oft-mentioned "best friend" urged me to "make a demand and expect it to be met" because he was sure "there was fruit there" (between my father and myself) and felt that "every little girl needs her father". At the time, with everything else going on in my life, my response was one of annoyance at being asked to revisit something so obscure and inconsequential in the course of my being; nevertheless, looking back, I suppose the points made were valid ones. The connection between father and daughter should be a self-affirming one, filled with all the elements of elation, satisfaction, continuity, and stability which provide one with the foundation of a full and fulfilling life.

For some of us, however, such is not the case.,

At this point, I have been without the love and support of a father for so long that I honestly don't think I miss it. If asked, I do not think I love him...or even had the opportunity to do so. In hindsight, it is apparent that he, in making the decisions that he did, hurt himself more than anyone else--save my mother; thus, any anger, animosity, or resentment would be lost on him. How can one harbor animosity towards someone who has done far more damage to himself than any hatred by another could even begin to match? He has missed out on every milestone in my life as well as the lives of my children; when I needed him, he was not there; he and I share precious few memories with the possibility of making new ones virtually nonexistent; there have been few shared confidences, few meaningful conversations, little affection, and no depth of feeling whatsoever...plus, sadly enough, this reality, this truth is one that characterizes his relationships (or, rather, non-relationships) with all eight of his other remaining children (more, if one counts the unacknowledged "halves" that are floating about).

Having spoken to him, having heard the regret in many of his statements, having felt the loss that comes from knowing that one's deeds are irrevocable--the best years of his life far behind him, I cannot help but look around me in awe of all that life has afforded me, all that I have for which to be grateful. Yes, I sit in an empty apartment, sure that with each passing day my brother has made a bonfire of my belongings back in Connecticut. It is true that materialistically, my children and I have comparatively little. There have been more than out share of struggles, hardships, miseries, and catastrophes; nevertheless, we have operated under the belief that life is to be lived, to be enjoyed...not simply endured, drawing our small quartet close in a way that defies the obstacles of time and circumstance. I am happy here in Colorado Springs. The prospect of a successful writing career looms ahead of me despite the temporary obstacles. My children are contented, for the most part, with themselves and their lives. The future stretches before us--with all tis love, laughter, tears, accomplishments, failures, experiences, lessons, celebrations, twists, turns, and eventualities--in a glorious panorama of possibility; and we are not afraid to face it.


My father is not, was not so fortunate.

To quote his own words, "...but I was afraid to take the chance...."

It really is true, people...

It is not a cliche:

We truly do have only one life to live...and the trick of it is living that life in such a way that the good times overshadow the bad, the triumphs outnumber the regrets, the fond memories outshine the sad ones, the accomplishments minimize the failures, and the laughter drowns out the tears.

My father, unfortunately, failed to understand that, which--seems to me--is the greatest tragedy of all.

How I hope and pray, regardless of all that has come before, that somehow, some way, to some extend he finds some peace of mind in these last days and weeks, months and years he has left on this Earth.




Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Renewals




Well, I officially moved into my new apartment last Saturday. Despite a few unforeseen detours, familial diversions, and utter exhaustion (yesterday, the activity, the stress, the excitement, and all the running about finally caught up to me, leaving me curled up on my lonely little borrowed mattress, struggling to breathe and popping aspirin to relieve the dizzying pain of my over-taxed heart), I must admit that I am far happier, far more contented, far more optimistic than I have been in years.

Hmmmmm...

Renewals....

In less than half-an-hour, I will find myself face-to-face with a friend from Middlebury (a fellow freelance writer) whom I have not seen in over twenty years.

Where has the time gone?

As daunting as the prospect of such a reunion is in so many ways, I find myself too excited to even sit still. New beginnings, new prospects, new adventures: these are all so compelling, so enchanting...so intriguing. I can't wait to learn
what will happen next...and learn about myself in the process.

(Ah! Grist for the mill...or in this case, ideas for the word processor, ya'll!)

Renewals:

They present themselves in so many strange and wonderful forms, don't they?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stumped


Well, here comes another tale of misery and woe: doom, despair and agony on me. (Don't you love it?) So, sit back, get out your handkerchief, and carefully tune those violins!

Outside, the rain falls in a steady, melodic tattoo. I close my eyes, attempting to sink into the bliss of the dark, stillness, willing it to beckon to me as usual.

No such luck.

Peace, tranquility, serenity: these are not to be my companions this day. This day, the rain serves only to exacerbate a sense of dread. Though such weather usually leaves me shivering with delight, today it strikes me as lonesome and dreary.

Believe it or not, I find myself facing even more setbacks in this oft-discussed move. (Sometimes I feel like the Boy Who Cried, "Wolf!") Yesterday, I had to cancel the movers (albeit, I like to think of the decision as "rescheduling"). Naturally, a van was dispatched anyway, despite assurances that the date had been firmly and without incident changed. Verbal sparring with a cuttingly polite dispatcher who emitted his impatience through clenched teeth was not exactly the best way to begin the day.


It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

In that single act of altering my plans, I put myself in the position of having to face what a truly staggering endeavor this all is. Here I am, a single mother with no outside help--not to mention three teenagers boarding at their schools) attempting to pack up and move across country with questionable health and amid "friends" whose answers to my fears,setbacks, and hardships tend to be, "Oh, if anyone can do it you can," or "It'll all be worth it once you get to Colorado!"

The question is: will I ever get there?

Most devastating about this setback is the stark truth that I have convinced myself the transition itself will somehow replace that which is now missing within me. Somehow, the detachment from healthy human contact, light and optimism developed here has festered into a disinterest in life, in living, in writing. Although I was told repeatedly that, having been as ill as I had been, mentally, psychologically, and even physically, there could be "re-entry" pangs in returning to the land of the living. I was told to be patient, not to panic, and to accept it as a reasonable manifestation of the trauma and damage my body had sustained due to nearly three years of critical anemia (as a result of g6pd and/or MDS) in conjunction with the significant head injury sustained from my very lovely car accident under two years earlier. Logically, I suppose, this all made a degree of sense; nevertheless, with the deepening disinterest in all things once "Chance," the desire to write, to connect with others, to even participate in the daily activities of life waned alarmingly. Frankly, my childhood left me adept as putting on the big smile and plodding through the hard times; nevertheless, no amount of mental cheerleading could resurrect in me the enthusiasm for life which had, there-to-fore, always sustained me and enriched my life.

Maybe, then, I placed too much significance in this single--though monumental--act of "change." It is as if I had tied all my ambitions, all my longings, far too much hope in the recuperative properties of physical change. Because life in New Haven has proven so very miserable in so many ways, the simple concept of relocating to a place of my choice under my terms was enticing, even intoxicating. In my enthusiasm, I found myself again jotting down phrases and images, making hasty entries into the journal which had for many weeks gone untouched.

Then the complications began.

And with every new problem, every new glitch, every new development, that lovely glow of anticipation diminished.

Now I find myself benumbed, overwhelmed, and quite weary. How does one carry out such a tremendous undertaking alone? Certainly, I--myself--don't know. Do I continue on to Colorado, leaving our belongings here, in the belief that somehow, someway I will find some way to "PPT" things to rights once I get there? Do I give up and stay here, feeling the very life's force drain from me day by day? Do I take up needlepoint? Gameboy? Drink?

Right now, I haven't a clue.

I know only that when I call anyone for help or that extra "push" in any direction, the result is usually the same: "I'm sure it's not as bad as you think...If anyone can get through this, you can."

Perhaps I shall one day learn the secret of asking for and accepting help rather than plowing through life expecting to do all, overcome all, accomplish all on my own. I often wonder how many others out there encounter a similar dilemma--having proven themselves so capable and resilient that they are often left to do the superhuman with little or no practical understanding. On one hand, it is a great compliment. To know that others assume you capable of mastering any task, reaching any goal, or transforming any hope, dream, or aspiration into reality is, at times, a tremendous motivator. In short, you can't fail: failing is not an option; therefire, you take a deep breath, plaster on a winning smile, and pray that somehow , you can manage to pull the thing (whatever it may be at the moment) off with at least a modicum of dignity.

Yet,on the other hand, there are always those "panic attack" moments in which one gravitates from abject hopelessness to a sense of injustice and indignation. I ask myself, why must I expect myself to forever achieve the unachievable? Why am I never allowed to be scared or discouraged or overwhelmed? Why is it that the problems of others are considered significant while mine are brushed aside as inconsequential simply because it is perceived that I always "find a way"?

I have to admit, I spent the entire day in bed in my underwear huddled beneath my covers praying for the world to end!

I, in fact, slept for hours after completing my requisite morning walk (which the chronically anemic must take in order to maintain the metabolism), trying to take comfort from the assurances from a woman I met that morning (having stopped in at a church on impulse) that this move was right for me, that I had to make it to Colorado, that there was nothing for me in New Haven...yet offered me no clue as to how I was to accomplish this other than, "Ask for help." Only vaguely did I notice the strains of "Any Day Now" wafting from my Blackberry (indicating that someone, somewhere wanted to reach me); yet, when I did stir myself enough to check the call logs, the calls were from wrong numbers, the moving company (calling to confirm my dates, naturally) and the one person I probably should not have spoken to (a classmate from prep school). Why I took the call, I cannot say, for it seemed tinged with one part glee in my stress, one part dismissal of my concerns, and--at last--the recurring theme of "don't complain to me: you're moving to Colorado!"

It's been a rough day


Still in all, there is no one to whom I can turn:this is a fact. No fairy godmother will materialize from thin air (though I have asked several people if they have one to spare). No knight in shining armor will ride to my rescue. No one is going to delve into the old bank account or run to my side to hold my hand. If this New Beginning is to happen, it will happen because I found a way to somehow struggle through, over, and past the series of rather daunting obstacles all by my little lonesome...even if that means leaving my belongings here for heaven-only-knows how long while I struggle to find the last bit of the first month's rent, a "day" job (until I establish contacts in the area), and some way to make at least the semblance of a home for my children.

Whatever it takes, I have to make this work.

(If anyone out there knows what "whatever" might be, do me a favor: please tell me!!!!!!)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Bye"

Why did you lack the courage to send me on my way,
To give me what was needed: to say what you had to say.
I knew you did not trust me, sensing all the while
That most of all you resented my ability to make you smile.
Never shall I be the woman fresh from that much-desired mold.
You see, I'm much too mouthy, too expectant, even too old
To settle for less than all that you and I could give
Or ignore the glaring differences in the lives we each must live.
I know that seeking friendship engendered sure and certain risks:
That each of us would face the inner fears that even time could not dismiss.
Still, foolishly I believed you'd see that such deep emotion could hold no lie,
That something truly precious sealed that entity "You and I".
How could you, after winning over my own doubts so tenderly
Imply I cared not for you but for your celebrity?

Perhaps with that same fear which you so often claim to face
The chance at friendship, love, and laughter you stubbornly replace!
Easier by far to hide behind the hurts of long ago,
To accuse me of the very things you knew, in your heart, weren't so.
Thus, for all your cool talk and suave reasoning, this you cannot deny:
You were too afraid to take a chance...and too cruel to just say, "Bye."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Going Home


As of this afternoon, we have an official home in Colorado Springs. The prospect of the move has actually lifted my spirits in ways that I truly did not expect. Having met new people, touched base with a fellow writer or two, and generally had the creative juices churned by the energy surrounding this transition, I feel optimistic for the first times in months.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Forward Movement



This day finds all three of my children settling into individual routines away from home: making new friends and re-establishing old connections; unpacking; rearranging; relearning how and when and where to tackle homework assignments; for my son, switching roles from that of the advisee to the all-knowing advisor. Here, on the Home Front, I struggle to--amid tentative anticipation--scrape together the remnants of hope, health, and happiness that somehow survived this New Haven purgatory and carry them with me into this very different life in Colorado. It is as though with the transforming of the seasons--summer into autumn--an equally astonishing alteration of existence came slowly, subtly into being. All about us the world swirls and changes, forcing us to reshape our own thoughts, attitudes, habits, and preconceived notions in order to accommodate those constant changes.

Despite it all, our little Quartet is moving forward. Somehow we have survived that which seemed insurmountable, too horrendous (at times) to be endured; and now it is as if the past traumas never existed, as though the wonder unfolding before us is all there ever was.

A friend of mine asked, "So, do you think you'll be able to write again? Now that you're finally getting away from the craziness?" The truth is, I have no idea. Ideally, I should have been able to sculpt words into distinct, delicately shaped images whether in the midst of insanity or tranquility. Talent should reveal itself despite the intrinsic interference of environmental forces, should it not?

I suppose only time will tell.

Still, one cannot help but--in the midst of it all--ponder the notion of New Beginnings...
and how vital to existence they really are.

With the positive changes now taking place in life, I am aware of tiny, electric jolts of vitality which are quite invigorating. Last night, my hands reached for journal and pen, scratching out the sentences before my mind even registered the significance of it all.

So, maybe--just maybe--these changes, this transition (more than anything else) was what I, as a "writer" needed. Perhaps in a new environment surrounded by fresh energy, new faces, different stimuli, it will be possible to knock down this oft-lamented "block" and actually create again.

Am I banking on that?


Let's put it this way:


My son's expression says it all.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Breakthrough...????


I actually posted an entry in my journal today after nearly two months? Dare one be optimistic, ya'll?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall Term Begins


The girls have arrived safely at Exeter.


All things considered, even if it is September 10th, it hasn't been too bad of a day...



Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Countdown Continues


The girls and I have picked up the last of the odds and ends for their return to Exeter on Thursday. Yesterday having nearly ended in a literal nervous breakdown, we are all just glad to have gotten through the morning.

(I think two decades of insanity hovering about me has finally taken its toll, ya'll.)

No great literary offerings have flowed from my fingertips since the last entry: moving has consumed my every waking minute. As for the former best friend, his book is due "out" this month. I hope it will be met with the enthusiasm he both expects and (grammatical helplessness aside) deserves.

He and I are no longer talking, but such is beside the point.

What matters, I suppose, is that a writer will see his work in print. Regardless of anything that may passed between us, I wish him every success.

After all...

One of us should make a mark with this writing thing!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Counting Down the Days


Yesterday, I saw my son onto his train. He is now safely, happily ensconced in Little dorm at Dartmouth College, where he will begin his sophomore year...as well as his first as an Undergraduate Advisor. At present, I find myself seated in the waiting area of the Westfield Mall Sears, watching the fashion show put on by my daughters, preparing myself mentally and psychologically for their departure for Exeter (ironically on my birthday) in a week.

Still do I avoid actual writing--like the bubonic plague, in fact. Disillusionment (?)...perhaps lack of inspiration, and maybe plain fatigue have literally drained the desire from me; nevertheless, I am resolved not to fly into a full-fledged, heart-stopping panic. Photography stands in the interim as my diversion of choice as I prepare to move to Colorado Springs--

(Brief pause. Ondrelique just emerged from the fitting room wearing an electric green jacket!!!!! Shocking.)

I often wonder if I will ever write again. After years of "fighting the good fight," I now find myself thinking maybe I was never meant to do this in the first place...what if I never possessed any talent...what if I have been deluding myself all these years...? Even so, as I rifle through my deepest thoughts and inclinations, there is nothing I would rather do, nothing else that I can envision myself doing with my life.

Time will tell.

In the mean time, I'm just hoping to survive the Mall!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

On the Two-Year "Anniversary" Of....

Today brings with it few surprises: still packing, still not writing. The undeniable pressure of urgency allows not a moment's respite; yet unexpectedly, the first stirrings of optimism have arisen. Just maybe the kids and I can pull this off after all...?!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Go West, Young(ish) Woman!


The past month has held more than its share of challenges...and, no, I have not written anything more. As my children and I concluded, the stress and strain of life in New Haven has taken a greater toll (this particular summer) than ever before. Fortunately, the long-awaited, much discussed move "out West" is underway; and with it, we are all optimistic, should come some peace of mind.


I certainly hope so.

Never before have I gone so long without even the desire to write.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Denouement (?)

It has occurred to me that not everyone who enjoys writing is, indeed, a writer. Some of us are grammarians, perhaps even star English students...yet not writers.

This past week has found me searching within the very depths of my own longings and ambitions hoping to find within myself that one element, that one trait which would elevate me from a mere English major to the level of the potential writer.

I have yet to discover it.

Maybe the last bout with illness has simply left me temporarily drained. Perhaps the conflict with my former (?) friend has struck a blow to my confidence...Or, possibly, the time has come to finally face facts.

Those who can...write.

Those who can't...shouldn't.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Morning




My friend's response to yesterday's well-meaning but admittedly unsolicited advice was, "Thanks all the same, but it works for me." Though alarmed and somewhat dismayed, I know that my reaction to editorial input is often less than...gracious; therefore, I can only move on--comforted somewhat by the knowledge that I at least attempted to honestly and constructively be of help--in the hopes that all will go well for him in his self-publishing endeavor.

In the meantime, this autumnally cool Saturday morning in July finds me resolutely recording another rejection letter, even as I mentally cheer on the creative process. My health slowly but surely improves. The constant press-and-pull of the upcoming move to Colorado adds significantly to the sense of impending change; nevertheless, it is change to which I look eagerly forward.

The time has come to move on.

(But first, I need to get my rear in gear and work on my fairy tales!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Waiting

One of the most difficult aspects of what I do--at least to my way of thinking--is the waiting. I wait for my computer to boot up, wait for inspiration, wait for rejection or acceptance letters, wait for clients to either call me or return my calls, wait for responses to my comments or corrections (when editing), and then...wait for my paycheck!

Grrrrrrrr!!!!

This day finds me waiting a response to an e-mail I quite hesitantly posted earlier this afternoon. A very dear friend is making his first foray into the world of published writing after years in the public eye. When I took on (or,more accurately: wheedled, cajoled,pestered, and demanded) the wondrous and fulfilling task of completing an "unofficial" pre-edit (my term for a process--my personal specialty--I often implement when dealing with many clients, by which the content of the work itself goes untouched while the grammatical, syntactical, and other structural aspects of the writing are corrected, after which, the client to opt for the next stage of the editorial process), I found myself absolutely enchanted by not only the manuscripts themselves but his unique style of writing: so much so, in fact, that I threw myself into the project, adding advice and services that I had not before intended to offer. As life would have it,unfortunately, circumstances led to a long silence between us, and I held no place in his life for several months. Only yesterday did he present me with the "final -final" edit of his young adult manuscript...

And I was faced with a moral, personal and professional dilemma.

As always, the writing itself was breathtaking, as were the ideas and imagery conveyed within this imaginative and unique story he had woven.

The grammar, in places was horrible.

Having gone into this matter with my eyes open--convinced that my personal feelings would indubitably diminish my objectivity with regards to the work--I had always accepted (and, indeed, preferred) to view the project as a favor for a friend, encouraging him--as such--at every juncture to consult (but not sacrifice his creative voice to) his own editor or literary agent. Because of this "hands off" approach, I have no idea who is assisting him in this venture...or to what degree. My concern, however,is that he might, by those without his best interests at heart, be steered into very troubling directions.

Then again, what right do I have--having kept a decided and deliberate distance from the creative process--to bulldoze my way into it now?

(On the other hand, as a friend and fellow writer, under what obligation am I to do everything in my power to make sure his project is the best it can be, the he has the best chance for success possible?)

It's all too much for this little Louisiana/Cherokee girl to handle.

So here I sit...

Waiting...

To see what course of action he will or not take, if my advice will wreck an already precarious relationship, to hear his response, for that bolt from the blue which will impart upon me some great--and before unknown--wisdom and discernment...

Waiting, essentially, for his response to my response....

Where does friendship end and professionalism begin?

And, for once in my life, should I simply keep my big mouth shut?



Monday, June 29, 2009

Dauriauna's Birthday/Writer's Wanted



Today, my youngest child celebrates her fifteenth birthday. In my mind, she remains the "tiny" one, ever The Baby. Even so, with all the chaos and confusion surrounding our lives, there is a degree of satisfaction in finding my little Quartet together for such a milestone, especially as this may be our last summer together as a foursome for some time to come. As far as writing goes, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, I have regained enough strength to begin to write daily again: the bad news is, I am writing not nearly enough. Even so, the day finds me strong enough to venture out to face my writers' group this afternoon, even though it seems that most will not be in attendance. The notion of holding such meetings at the library in this area is proving a colossal failure; nevertheless, the experience should be quite helpful once the family has relocated out West. The important thing to remember is that the attempt was made. Perhaps such ideas are not viable in New Haven, Connecticut; yet, I am sure that somewhere there exist the desire and enthusiasm for such an assembly. The key is to try, try again!


In the interim, children's stories shall remain my focus--for the present. Telling myself I will not obsess over the progress being (or not being) made by my "best friend" with regards to his own first venture, assuring myself that health issues notwithstanding I can--indeed--produce something of quality, all insecurities, doubts, worries, and financial concerns aside, I will churn out at least one additional tale this week.


From there?


The world...?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Out and About


Today, I took a long stroll (my first time to venture beyond the apartment in weeks) with my daughter the returned to my laptop to actually bang out the beginnings of an essay.


Perhaps I am actually on the mend...


Finally!!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Best Friend


My best friend's eyes are brilliant blue,
And in them, I see bits of sea,
Of sky,
Of my inmost Self

Reflected.


His voice,

And mine,
Seem to resonate in vibrant sameness...

Yet,
I am wondering
If this oneness is but an illusion
Born of deep longings,
Foolish fears,
Wishful thinking,
And a need to love,
And be loved,
When Love--in reality--
Is Absent.

The Unfinished Children's Story (Excerpt of the First Draft)


Here's as far as I've gotten....

Somehow, I can't settle on a satisfactory ending. Even so, below lies the very fragmented beginnings of "The Sorcerer's Assistant":

Once, in a place so far away to as to be like unto a dream, there lived a young man,t he apprentice of a kindly sorcerer. Now, this was no ordinary boy. Yes, he was gentle and patient, very easy to like. He listened carefully to that which was told to him and took pride in serving others. He was also, unfortunately, very curious; moreover, he had the unfortunate habit of rushing through his duties rather than taking the time to perform each task to the best of his abilities.

"Use your head, boy!" the Sorcerer would often scold him. "Think before you act!" It was of no avail. His bright but headstrong ward was forever getting into trouble....and the Sorcerer forever getting him out of it.

And this one sad fact led to the one tragic event which would forever shape his life.

Apprenticed at the age of seven, he began his service by learning simple tasks--cleaning up the work area, learning to arrange and maintain the many clay pots, tubes, and bottles containing a wide array of potions and chemicals, and dutifully running any errands his teacher might require. Though he could be headstrong at times, he was not a bad or willful boy, leading the old sorcerer to grow very quickly fond of him. Further, as the sorcerer had no children of his own and the boy had lost his own father when still an infant, the two fell into quite a comfortable arrangement.

Over the next three years, in fact, they grew quite close indeed.

All the same, it must be said, the assistance was a constant source of vexation for an organized, methodical old man who liked his life "just so".

One day, as the master chemist was away, the young apprentice, charged with putting the work tables in order, was impatient to be finished. "Think, lad think!" the Master Magician had admonished before his departure. "Think before you act!" Neverthelessm without that patient but watchful eye upon him, the young man was not as meticulous as he might have been. In his haste, he rattled pots and bottles, overturned glass tubes, and did not properly wash and dry small bowls and beakers used earlier that day. As he worked, a single fly buzzed steadily about his head, annoying him greatly. Perhaps this would not have bothered him but that a small albino mouse nibbled steadily at a dried crust of bread in a far corner; meanwhile, a tiny cricket, reveling in the warmth and peace of its place by the fire, lustily sang its chirrup of pleasure. All these things, plus his eagerness to get out into the sunshine of the bright, early spring day, led the boy to do a very foolish thing: with a cry of frustration, he hurled a large, shallow earthen bowl of water (used to wash out the soiled utensils and vessels of before) in the general direction of the three, persistent pests.

A great explosion shook the room. Sparks of blue, red and green lit the smoke-filled room alongside spectacular bolts of blinding white bolts of light. Though the boy scurried here and there, desperate for cover, he could not escape the small bits of hot debris which settled upon his and clothing. Cry out though he might, none could hear him over the incessant whistles and screams of pops, booms, and bangs. And, very soon, startled by the noise and calamity, the sorcerer's small, terrified assistant crawled beneath a nearby table--followed soon after by the fly, the cricket, and the tiny white mouse--where he tearfully awaited the return of peace.
But, alas, peace was not, for him, to be.

Never again.

When at long last the fireworks came to an end, it was late into the evening. The moon shown bright and full through the large, eight-paned window on the other side of the room. All around him was darkness. And quietude. The fly ceased its buzzing. The cricket chirped no more. The mouse fell silent. Still shaking, the lad dragged himself nervously from his small shelter, noting with great fear that he did not feel as he should. His legs seemed heavy somehow, determined to each move stubbornly and in their own directions. He also noticed an odd pulling sensation behind him, as if having been crouched near the cold stone of the floor for so very long had somehow left him tethered to something beneath the table.

Still, so happy was he for a chance to escape that he paid little attention to these annoyances. As soon as he was able, he sprang to his feet and ran from the small, stone building ass fast as he was able. Only later, beneath the silver-white glare of the moon, did the poor child realize that something had gone horribly, miserably wrong.
Now, the sorcerer himself did not deal in harmful magic. He was not a man of wicked spells or evil incantations. He did, nevertheless, practice magic of all sorts, especially those requiring the use of potions and powders--which held for him a great fascination. Even so, he was always quite careful to keep his small workshop tidy, his tools and supplies in order, his bottles clearly labeled, and his instruments meticulously clean. For that reason, he often had reason to scold his young assistant, who was known to rush through his work if not properly watched and, in doing so, make any number of mistakes and blunders.

On this night, in mixing his wash-waters and failing to properly clean many of his receptacles, the lad learned a lesson he would, sadly enough, not soon forget; for when he looked down at his own body beneath in the moonlight, he cried out in sheer horror then burst into useless tears.

No longer was his right leg his right leg, but instead, an enormous fly. He recognized it to be the very same fly which had so vexed him before. No longer was his left leg his left leg, but rather a gigantic cricket. this he knew to be the very same cricket whose chirping had before filled him with such frustration. Although his head and arms were his own, his body was that of the hungry white mouse; moreover, behind him swished its tail. There they four were, locked together in a single, awkward form, undeniably one yet with thoughts, instincts and wills all their own.

Somehow, this miserable quartet managed to amble clumsily home to the tiny cottage the young man shared with his mother, younger brother, and older sister. When he arrived, it is sad to say, he was not met with sympathy or even a welcome. Instead, his own mother barred the door to him, shrieking:

"Heaven preserve us! A monster! A monster!"

His own sister, before his best friend and constant playmate, snatched up a broom, which she swung wildly about her. "Go away! Go away!" she sobbed. "Don't eat me! Please! Don't eat me!"
What hurt him most of all, though, was the instant his own brother--who had been the only father he had ever known--took the sword of their long-dead father from the wall above the fireplace and warned him, "Be gone, you evil demon, or I shall slice you in two."
It seemed he no longer had a home. He no longer had a family! Devastated, he and his companions scrambled back to the only place they could think to go: the workshop of the old sorcerer. As the hour had been well passed midnight, they curled as best they could in a ball in one, lonely corner, where they trembled and lamented until finally falling into an uneasy sleep. It was there the wise old man found them the next morning.
"By the stars above, boy!" he howled. "What have you done?"
Between his sobs and hiccups, above the chirping of the cricket, the squeaking of the mouse, and the furious fluttering of the fly's wings, he somehow managed to relay his pathetic tale. When he was finished, the sorcerer could only shake his head in wearied disbelief and set to work making things right. Try as he would, though, even he could not undo what had been so foolishly done; and there was nothing for the boy to do but accept his grim fate.
So it was he--for as time went by, the four companions began to share one another's thoughts and anticipate each other's moods almost as though one being...though not quite--was taken in by the wily sorcerer; and although his master could not pretend to be unaware of his strange and grotesque condition, he grew to love the boy in spite of it...in some cases, even because of it! As the years blew slowly, deliberately, inevitably away--like sands of an eternal beach stirred by the winds of time--they two became like father and son; so much so that neither could recall--even if he so desired--a moment when they had not been together.

Just because the sorcerer himself accepted the lad, however, did not mean the people of the village were as kind. Over the years, the lad had become the subject of much talk, the object of a great many fears. Albeit few knew the details of his grotesque transformation (many thinking him to be the actual son of the sorcerer brought to life, somehow, through the darkest of evil magic), nearly everyone in the surrounding area knew of him. And, even though he usually wore a great, thick velvet cape which concealed all but his head, arms, and--on occasion--his long, pink mouse's tail, all who lived near him (even if they had not seen it for themselves) had heard stores of his monstrous form. As such, the boy was referred to by many names. Some called him the Fly Boy, others the Cricket. Regardless, he was an object of fascination, feared and reviled by everyone around him.

Nevertheless, by his sixteenth year, he had become a fixture in the life of the sorcerer. Hence, because the Sorcerer himself was either loved or hated, feared or adored, known or known of by any and all, so--too--was his beloved son.

That is not to say, however, that the Sorcerer's Assistant had grown any less headstrong, and less determined, or any less reckless than he had been in his youth.
Now, it happened one day that the great Magician was called away to serve a wealthy family with ties, it was thought, to the king. Immediately, he attached his finest covered wagon (filled with his necessary supplies and potions) to his best horses (huge gray stallions with white-gold manes whose flanks gleamed even in the morning sun) and made ready to answer the summons.

One must understand that the old man was quite an important figure. His duties were really quite extensive. Being a man of many wondrous talents, when anyone had a problem or dilemma, complaint or illness, question or concern, he was usually enlisted to assist them. And his authority was never challenged--not even by nobles themselves--for such an impressive figure was he. Few, in fact, dared even to speak to him. Standing head, shoulders, and chest above the king himself with the eyes of a wily hawk, a flowing white beard, and thick white brows which some were sure might actually themselves speak when spoken to--he was rarely turned away from any door. Furthermore, any one who had need of his services never had reason to regret having called upon them.

When the Great man was away, he left his son in charge. By now, the Sorcerer's Assistant had learned a great deal from his teacher. And, though his startling appearance made him leery of venturing out on his own, those who knew of him were not opposed to speaking to him as a means to reach the sorcerer himself because of the Sorcerers reputation and renown. Now and then, the young man still made mistakes--either by hurrying or skipping steps, failing to listen or being distracted by his own curiosity. Luckily for him, his other "selves" the Fly, the Cricket, and the Mouse, were on hand to show him the error of his impetuous ways.

It was a cold, winter's morn when the Sorcerer departed on this fortnight's journey. As always, he was a bit uneasy about leaving the boy. Oh, it was not that he did not trust him...quite. No. As a man who dealt with magic, he knew well the havoc that magic could make. He also realized that even though his son grew wiser and more responsible each day, he was still quite young; furthermore, when making tough decisions the boy had trouble, at times, making up his mind...as would any one who had four minds to make up!

"You are sure you will be fine here alone," he asked with a wiggle of those living brows.

"Yes, my father." Underneath the cloak, the Fly began to impatiently flutter its wings.
The Sorcerer climbed up into his driver's seat and slowly took the reins. "There is nothing you would ask me before I go?"

"No, my father." And beneath the cloak, the Cricket rubbed together its long, shiny legs.

The old man stared at his son. There was much he would have said to him, had he the luxury; unfortunately, he was already past his time, and the matter that awaited him was one of some urgency. So,with one last tug of his long, curling white beard, he gave the reins a powerful flick. Four silver horses.

No sooner than the Wizard's caravan vanished behind that first hill did his Assistant hear an urgent knock on the door. At the time, he had been labeling vials and making lists of which potions and chemicals most needed replacing--a task which irritated the impatient Fly, made the Cricket jumpy, and caused the Mouse to argue with and correct him at every turn. So it was that unexpected intrusion annoyed him to no end. So exasperated was he, in fact, that he quite forgot to throw on his enormous black cloak before throwing open the heavy metal door.

"Who disturbs me at this hour of the day!" he thundered.

Outside stood a tiny little man. He wore a coarse, burlap tunic of coarse, raw-wool leggings and looked for all the world like a hungry hound cowering from its master's boot. The early morning sun shone from the top his his shiny red pate, and in his tiny little hands he hold a flat rectangle--taller by a full head than he--wrapped in thick brown paper and tied with rough yellow twine. This poor, bedraggled fellow (who had already worked himself up into quite a state at the prospect of having to face the towering Sorcerer) nearly fainted dead away at the sight of this horrifying, three-headed creature. So terrified was he that he dropped his delivery outright and fled without a word of explanation.

"Well, isn't this a fine thing!" muttered the apprentice, as he bent awkwardly to retrieve the bundle. Lifting things often proved difficult for his, as the Mouse--used to moving about on all fours, not upright--claimed it hurt his back, the Fly complained his legs were not strong, and the Cricket tended to leap and cavort about at the oddest times. Somehow, though, he managed to angle the heavy thing into the shop, where he propped it against a far wall. There it would have remained, untouched, had something fantastic not taken place.

The packet itself stood opposite the huge stone fireplace, which the work table faced. So, when the brown paper fell away, the light from the flames reflected on its polished black surface, filling the room with an eerie glow. Even though his back was turned, the Sorcerer's Assistant could feel the strange, icy glare of it against his bare, white fur, and he spun around to see what had happened.

"Why it was like a snake shedding his skin!" he said to himself.

The Cricket agreed.

Now, the Mouse wanted to run from it. The Fly buzzed and fluttered its wings, forgetting (as it often did) that it could no longer take flight at will (though it could fly, after a fashion, if the need arose). As for the Cricket, he tended to face every situation with good humor and a song; yet even he found himself just the tiniest bit leery of that ominous black glass.

The Sorcerer's Assistant, however, was curious. "Oh, don't be so foolish!" the boy snapped at no one and everyone in particular. "It's only a looking glass, after all."
With that, he drew closer, dragging the others through the sheer strength of his stubborn will. It seemed to the young man, as he moved nearer, that the black glass surface began to pull him in. What began as a solid, shining surface began to swirl, as though some powerful whirlpool lay just on the other side of it, sucking at not only the mirror itself but everything it held in its glare.

Now, anyone else would have immediately backed away. And, given the dire consequences of acting without thought before, one would have thought that he of all people would thought twice, then thought again before approaching it. Not so the apprentice.

"Odd," he muttered, then stretched out his hand to touch it.
The Mouse chipped angrily. The Fly buzzed its wings, nearly lifting them all off the floor. Even the Cricket stopped chirping and began to fidget and bounce on its great, spiky legs...all to no avail. The boy simply had to know what manner of glass this was, and what made it appear to be moving when clearly, it was quite still.

He lay his palm flat on its surface. No sooner than he touched it did the mirror grow fiery hot. He cried out in pain, but for some reason, he could not pull his hand free. Whimpering with fright, he pulled and twisted, tugged and jerked, wrenched and wriggled, but nothing he did loosened his hand from the glass.

This was not a good thing!

He absolutely could not face the sorcerer! Not having disobeyed his Teacher again! What would he say? What would he do? Surely even such a man as great as he would lose patience after a while. Surely even he could not forgive always.

He thought of the Teacher's disapproval. This made him tug harder, fight more fiercely. He twisted and turn, wrenching until he thought his arm would jerk free of his shoulder...to no avail. There was no question about it. He was stuck tight.

"Now what do I do?"

The cricket stretched one leg over the other and began to make shrill, screeching sounds that made the Assistant cry out and cover his ears. It grew louder and louder until the air itself seemed to be rent in two by the sharp, splitting sounds.
"Stop it!" the lad bellowed. "What are you doing?" And, with his free hand he swatted at the steadily moving legs. It was then that he noticed something remarkable!

With each note, the mirror throbbed.

It throbbed and pulsed, like the heartbeat of a living thing

Now, of all of them, only the mouse had no actual head. that was because, at times, he and the boy shared that particular part. At that very moment, the lad's glossy black curls became stark white fur, and a pair of powerful front teeth appeared, with which he gnawed easily through the thick hemp of the rope.

On the other side of that black glass, however, they were again four separate beings: the Fly, the Cricket, the Mouse, and the Boy.

The world beyond the black glass was dark and distorted. Even the solid things about him twisted and faded, as though made of wisps of smoke; yet to the touch, they were substantial...and very real.

He could not understand it!

"Think! THINK!"he could hear the Wizard reminding him. "Think before you act!"

As the light struck the Crystal Steeple, it exploded into a blinding spectrum of color.

Another Day


Last night, my nineteen-year-old son presided over my writer's group. I was still not strong enough to assume my duties. Frustration, therefore, is theme of my current existence.

Even so, I am determined to get at least a bit of writing done: perhaps I might even track down that elusive ending to the children's tale which wrote (then put aside) months ago!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Crises

My children--having had no contact with my estranged husband in over three years and, unfortunately, preferring it that way--have declared today "National Fatherhood Crisis Day". I myself would prefer to think of it as my own personal Writer's Crisis Sunday.

Not a thought, not an idea, not the slightest inclination to put words to "paper." This is becoming alarming. Even though my journal serves as the last refuge from complete and utter literary exile, I am determined this day to awaken my brain, stimulate my senses, and have a bit of fun with my writing today.

Once again,

To quote the title of the movie (and didn't you just love the ex-husband in that one!):

"Something's Gotta Give"!!!!!!