Ebb and Flow
The water negotiates
an endless rhythm
Heedless of random days
Little hands grow,
Small hands grow
they've slipped out of your grip.
But it must.
Wax and Wane
Ebb and Flow.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
She read the last lines of her Elizabeth Gaskell novel:
Miss Barker hovering about us with offers of help, which, if she had not
remembered her former occupation, and wished us to forget it, would have been
much more pressing.
The pages of the paperback pressed into her thumb and left a small red mark. She placed a cross stitch book mark to keep her place and put the book on her bedside table, next to her alarm clock. The sheets were clean and crisp because it was Sunday, when she changed her sheets. It was like a fresh start to the new week. Normally she would turn off her light and snuggle into the white eyelet pillowcase, but not tonight.
Tonight Amy wished she had a television in her bedroom to keep her company. The silence in her condominium seemed a judgmental. She turned her light off and lay on her back. She had to straighten out her cotton nightgown against the cotton sheets, flip her hair out her face and smooth the blanked over her. Her eyes were stubborn that night and she could not get them to shut, even after reasoning with herself.
The top of her ceiling gave no sympathy and pressed down from the heights in a shadowy gray and black. The shadow from the fan looked like a spider ready to silk down on top of her. She turned the other way and had to adjust her gown again, which made her turn the other way and of course, she had get up, fix her gown and go back into the bed.
Amy turned on the light with a sigh and picked up her book.
Tears filled her eyes. Soon it would be midnight and she would miss her deadline. She smacked the book on her bed and covered her face with her hands.
She had gone to Carson's because they had a sale on black Aerosoles. When the sales clerk had gone in the back to find her size, she looked down on the floor and there it was. A perfect, white baby bootie. Just one, which told her that the baby had the other one on her foot. It was a her because she would never dream of putting a lovely thing like that on a boy. She picked it up. It was hand done, she was sure, and it was so soft, with a dainty satin ribbon to close it around a little ankle.
She asked the clerk if she remembered the mother. Maybe she was still in the store and she could give it to her. Surely she would miss it. But the clerk didn't know. So, Amy kept it and did not take it to lost and found like she said she would. She turned her head.
Amy broke into long, gasping sobs. Her deadline would pass and she would not be pregnant. The long, lonely decade of thirty something had begun.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
...so as to not waste a perfectly good image, let's think outside the box and have BOX be the theme for april 8th! hope we don't make you feel boxed in with our request!
James Blanton adjusted his Brooks Brother's jacket. It impressed him that in spite of the humid St. Louis July afternoon, the lines of his suit were crisp and clean. He straightened his blue satin tie and ran his finger between his Adam's apple and collar. He popped a small Altoid's under his tongue and turned to face Ms. Wilma Whitman's secretary.
His shoes tread through the plush carpet while he walked to the man's desk. The older man was typing on his keyboard and looked at him in a sort of wide-eyed wonder.
"My name is James Blanton. I'm here to see Ms. Whitman. She is expecting me at 4:30."
The man swiveled his chair and faced him. His eyes looked sad and his lips moved, as if he were searching for the right words. "Yes, James, I know. I'll go in and tell her you're here."
"Is--has she said something to you?" James asked him.
"Oh, yes. Yes." The man's smile appeared sad and sympathetic. Ms. Whitman's secretary walked to the large double doors, opened them and disappeared behind them.
The carpet muted the sound of everything in the room. The tall doors climbed all the way to the cathedral ceiling. James sighed and walked to the windows. Like the doors they went to the ceiling and overlooked downtown St. Louis, but not the arch or river. That view belonged to the chosen; the well-do-to; the lucky of the world. The two black leather chairs and little glass table looked a like an after thought. James wondered in his mind if anyone had ever used them. He turned to the elevator. The walls were painted black as was the elevator; no numbers at the top. All floors were down from here and straight to the garage; he had to leave his desk and go to the garage in order to get to her office.
What is it like to be here? To hold the future of all these people in your hands? What is it like to have so much power? To make decisions that will have lasting effect in a global economy, if it is only toys.
Two narrow and tall glass windows flanked the other corner of the elevator wall, competing with dark, oak panels behind pictures of the former Chief Executive Officers starting from the first owner. There were only three pictures. Founder and owner Jack Hanlon 1880-1920, Jocelyn Umberge 1920-1960 and Ms. Whitman 1960-present. They all looked grim, which seemed ironic considering their product.
They made high end children's toys. Lately it had been a tough market, but the toys were easy to sell, once children played with them. They were old fashioned, well made, expensive and utterly irresistible. James owned several pieces from childhood and they still worked, so when he graduated, he couldn't believe his luck getting a job at Hanlon's.
"She will see you now, James."
James Blanton whirled around and saw the great doors opened and the male secretary standing on the threshold. He cleared his throat and walked inside the large room.
"Good night, Miss Whitman. Thank you. Good night, James." The man closed the door behind him and the sound echoed in the room.
"Come in, James. Please." Miss Whitman was seated about sixty feet from him but the acoustics were so perfect, that her voice was quiet. The room was stark, the walls wooden and dark brown and the floor was some type of black slate, as far as he could tell.
The sound of his shoes bounced off these walls and floors only to bounce back from the wall of windows behind Miss Whitman's desk. She seems small, dwarfed by the magnificent view of the sun setting on the arch and the river. His hands were sweating and he let them brush along the side of his jacket to wipe them off. A bead of perspiration ran down his temple but he dared not wipe it off.
"Please, James, sit." Miss Whitman looked older than he thought and gaunt, in spite of her weight. "James, do you know why you are here?"
"No, ma'am. I don't." James sat in very comfortable leather chair, but sat up rigid straight. She handed him a pink phone message sheet. He blanched.
"I see from the expression on your face that you remember this note. It was put in the suggestion box."
"Yes. Ma'am. I didn't think anyone looked in that suggestion box. I thought it would get thrown away. No one in my part of the office ever heard back from their suggestions so I thought it would get--it was a Friday night and it had been a long week."
"Read it out loud, James. Please." Miss Whitman seemed to be holding her breath.
"I suggest that I run this company because I don't think--please, Miss Whitman, accept my apology--"
"Just...read it aloud, James. Please." Miss Whitman leaned forward and something like fear was in her eyes.
"I, um, suggest that I run this company because I don't think, I know that I could do a better job." James crumpled it in his hands. Miss Whitman leaped from her seat and grabbed the piece of paper from him.
"No. You mustn't do that. No." Miss Whitman smoothed out the crumples, her breath shallow. "James, I've been waiting for this note for many years. And I am delighted that it comes now, while I still have time. Did you notice the pictures of the CEO's on the walls outside this office?"
"Yes, ma'm." James watched her continue to smooth the pink piece of paper.
"James, what did you notice?" Her brown fingers smoothed the edges with great care.
"I noticed that each officer served for forty years, ma'am."
"That's right. I have served for forty years and I believe that my time is done. Right now." Miss Whitman smiled in triumph and continued to look at the paper. James could not understand why she would not look him in the eye. "You see, James, forty years ago, I sent a paper in Hanson's suggestion box. Do you know what it said? I can show you."
She pulled away from her desk and opened a drawer. Her smile was a hungry, animal smile. James sat back and gripped the sides of his chair. She put out a small, white piece of paper, which had been crumpled but was flattened and yellowing on the edges.
"I wrote, ,'I can do a better job running this company and I know you think I can't, just because I'm a black woman.' There's another one, from 1920." She laid a small piece of paper, fragile and folded in half. "It says, 'You all think you're so smart but I know that I can run the company better than old Hanlon.' So you see, James, why I wanted to see you."
"Some say it was Mr. Umberge's fault. But it wasn't. It was Hanlon himself. So you see, James. It's you. You are my replacement. The board of directors knows all about Hanson's crazy stipulations." Tears filled her eyes. "My husband was diagnosed with cancer but it's in remission, thank God. I wanted to leave but I couldn't. I had to wait. All these long years, but now. Your suggestion. I will have a pension and my family...will be protected." Miss Whitman took her purse from her desk.
"Married? But your name--"
"You can't marry unless you consult the board. You can only have three children; if you want more, you must consult the board. It's all there, James; Mr. Hanlon saw to it. You can't retire any toys. ANY of them. You can't introduce new toys unless you retire a toy. You cannot go with market trends. You must design new toys and they must be hand made by the staff from our northern office. You cannot travel more than half an hour away from this office or... You will thank God on your hands and knees for the invention of jet plane. You can't--"
"I don't understand. Why so many stipulations?"
"The money is legally tied to them, James. You can do nothing without consulting them first and believe me, the board knows every dot and every i of that document."
"But how can the company grow and move on? How can I introduce new ideas?" James jumped to his feet. "What if I don't want to do it?"
"They know where you live, James. They are very powerful. Do not cross them. Ever." Tears spilled on her cheeks.
"Miss Whitman, is that a threat?" James leaned on the table and into her face. She did not back away.
"You cannot leave until you receive a note, just like the one you sent me. And you cannot tell anyone or they will take everything, James; they will find a way. I have warned you as much as I can."
James paced back and forth in front of the desk. "So I get the limosine, the driver, a secretary, all this?"
Miss Whitman stood up. "You are the new CEO, James. There will be a reception for you when you leave this room. Good bye, James. I know that it was an angry suggestion, but it is now my freedom." She walked away.
"No, Miss Whitman. Not before you take your place by my side." He held out his arm and stood ram-rod straight. The older woman wiped her face. She adjusted her suit coat and wiped her hands on her skirt.
"I will not stay long," she said and took his arm.
"Yes, ma'am." James Blanton walked down the endless floor with Miss Whitman at his side and fought to keep a smirk off his face.
Write a story or poem prompted by ONE of the following oxymorons.
1. "Nothing is permanent but change." ~ Heraclitus, in FRAGMENTS
2. "A good father is a little bit of a mother." ~ Lee Salk
3. "A man who lives everywhere lives nowhere." ~ MArtial, in EPIGRAMS
4. "The best things in life aren't things." ~ Ann Landers
5. "Silence is more eloquent than words." ~ Thomas Carlyle
My husband the father
My tired man sits,
listens to his children talk and
hugs them before bed.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
deviate identify saturate
"It's days like this I hate this job." Jo dr'N let his tool box slam to the tunnel floor. Light from the sun pierced through the sewer grates. Family and single flight carriers glided on the electric gridgrate.
"The middle track provides the power and water has to be drained away. Oh, I'd love those engineers to come down here and clean this up. Big ideas." Bha b'luuB put on his yellow hardhat and gloves.
"This nut is corroded. Old iron from years ago. Give me that wrench, I'll try to take it off." The metal spanner flew out of Jo'N's hand and landed on the stone floor with a loud clang. "I'm not sure I can identify which socket to use."
"Identify? Well aren't we the university academic. Try this 2.2." Bha'B handed his co-worker the wrench. "How come you were late at Ah'Blinnley's last night? And where was Sal? I thought you said she was coming too?"
"My head is still pounding. We had a good time. Ugh, I can't get it to budge--wait." Jo'N winced as he pulled the handle towards him. The nut moved sightly. He paused for a moment and caught his breath. He moved the handle up and pulled it down. It loosened and moved again. Soon the clicking of the wrench became quicker.
A large harrier rode on the street above them.
"He shouldn't be driving here. It's residential zoning," said Bha'B as he looked up. "Unless they're spraying fertilizer."
"The rain will saturate the ground tonight. It can't be a tanker harrier; ground is bone dry. One more bolt. It won't take me long on this one. Get ready to grab the handles. Just a second--there." Jo'N dropped the nut and with Bha'B grabbed the handles to the round switchplate. They pulled it straight and set it on the ground. The noise echoed through the tunnel. The street above them was quiet. The only sound other than their breathing was water dripping somewhere in the dark.
Bha'B grabbed his torch and shone it into the hole. "What is that?" Inside the hole, a wet, fleshy creature clung to the sides of a drain pipe. Its tendons seemed to expand and contract. "I don't see a head." He shone the light around.
"I don't know, Jo'N. We better call the boss. Something is not right." Bha'B stepped away and looked down for his phone. A moment later his head hurt and he saw stars. He dropped to his knees.
"No. You won't. It won't hurt you. It's here to help you. See?"
Bha'B looked up to see his co-worker reach in and take hold in his bare hands.
"What are you doing? Are you crazy holding on to that thing? Oh, my head. Did you hit me?"
"Sal and I were late last night because we changed. The time has come to evolve. To deviate from the slow path of progress. You will see, Bha'B. We will join them. Together we will be more."
"No!" Bha'B cried out before Jo'N placed the tentacles of a thousand worms on his face.
For more creativity, please click here.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Have you had a mentor in your life? Would you like one? For what? Have you been one? How? Everyone could use a little more help in their lives, can you see where you could be a mentor now?
I want a writing mentor. I do. I want to be able to contact a more experienced writer and ask the dumb questions without worry. Questions like:
I am having trouble with my plot. Is this common?
Do you think I'm being too hard on myself because I want to rewrite this
chapter a 6th time?
Can you talk me out of throwing this away? I'm almost finished but I think
it's a complete piece of...um, work.
I don't need someone to edit. I need a sounding board for writing. But from the looks of these questions, I need a therapist.
I have mentors and peers in other areas of my life. God has blessed me with peers and mentors in the autism community. It took a long time and it came in an unexpected place, namely the internet. But I appreciate my community and try to be encouraging to others.
The last question made me laugh.
"can you see where you could be a mentor now?"I am a mother. I mentor all the time, in the car, in the store, in the house, in the yard. All I seem to do is mentor. I'm not the best, but right now, it's my calling and God is helping me.
If I were a better Christian, I would say that God is my mentor and He teaches me all things. That is absolutely true and I know that He will continue to do so. To paraphrase something I heard elsewhere, I would like God to send me a mentor with skin.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
The People: One is a god/goddess
The Theme: Taking a stand
The Location: Fairyland
Gods in Fairyland. I suppose they eat rainbows and poop butterflies. Here it goes...
"Here's to a mutual agreement." Queen Rosemalina and Hermes touched their wine glasses. The fairy queen's wings rustled slightly but stayed in place behind her back.
"There is nothing like spring thistle wine, milady." Hermes put the rim to his lips but hesitated. He nodded towards her with a smile.
The queen returned his smile and took a sip from her glass. Hermes took a small sip and the two continued to lock eyes.
"I suppose your little villeins are waking from the winter to gaily begin spring. They touch the trees and they bud. They wave their little sticks--no, wands you call them--and flowers open. They work so hard for you, your Majesty."
"And dear Persephone is released from the underworld to embrace her mother Ceres. I've heard stories, Hermes. That she wasn't tricked into eating those seeds, that she chose to eat them, out of her great, what do you call it, love for Hades and that she was told that they were an aphrodisiac."
"That's a lie." The beautiful young woman with long blonde hair turned to face them.
"I am Queen Rosemalina and I will be addressed as such." The queen spun around to face her accuser.
"I was tricked by my husband. I have grown to love him now but it was not so at first. You are so small. You think your little courtiers begin spring. You are too small to realize that there are forces far bigger than you. Even the gods realize that there are forces greater and older than themselves."
"You may be queen in the underworld but you stand in my kingdom. Had I stood before your king Zeus, I would regard him with respect." The sounds of spring were silenced. Only a nearby brook gurgled, splashed and tried to ignore the tension. Persephone bowed deeply and vanished.
"My lord Zeus does send his kindest regards and hopes to see you and your court attend his spring feast. It will not be the same if you do not attend." Hermes choked back a laugh.
"You may tell Zeus that we value his friendship and will have as lovely a presentation for him as he has ever seen." Queen Rosemalina scowled and was soon surrounded by hundreds of flutters.
"The spring feast awaits. We look forward as always." Hermes drained his wine glass, bowed and vanished in a whisper of a breeze.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Three Word Wednesday
Frollo's caustic jealousy killed you
and all my dreams.
Your handsome Captain stood by and watched,
tall, straight but spineless.
My twisted hunch repulses you,
even when I sacrifice to save you from the gallows.
In the end they will find me devoted
bones among bones
in the pits of Mount Faucon.