Category Archives: Friends

RevitalWriters: Critique. Done. Write.

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REVITALWRITERS

A WEEKLY COHORT FOR WRITERS

This is what has kept me very busy over the last couple of weeks. Michael Grant, Artie Ohanian, and I have put together a Virtual Writer’s Group. RevitalWriters is for writers of any style or genre (poetry; fiction; non-fiction; memoir/biography; etc.) who want/need support for their WIP (Work(s) In Progress). All this leading to achieving a finished manuscript to send off to agents and/or publishers.

The sessions will run every Friday night, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, EST. If you are in any other time zone, if you’d like to become part of the cohort, let us know.

Our Goal: To offer support, encouragement, and constructive critique in a safe space.

We are not a prompt/generative writing group that you join when the planets align. Our intention is that writers serious about their craft get what they need to to finish and submit.

For full details of how each session will be run, visit RevitalWriters.  You’ll find our guidelines, About page, contact information, and upcoming Resource For Writers and Blog pages.

I hope you can join us in our first group meeting at RevitalWriters Session.  Friday, July 10, 2020, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, EST.

PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION:

RevitalWriters@gmail.com

I hope to see you there.

 

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When I’m Sixty Four (Remastered 2009) · The Beatles

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

℗ 2009 Calderstone Productions Limited (a division of Universal Music Group)

Released on: 1967-06-01

Producer: George Martin
Composer Lyricist: John Lennon
Composer Lyricist: Paul McCartney

Sonnet: For

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It suits you, the radiance that you glow

More comfortable in being alive

Overcoming hurdles released in rows

Each day will move surpassed helping you to grow.

 

Each year, every passing one you may dread

Detach those thoughts! Appreciate your self

For who you are; soul has been lifted, fed

Love blooms all around; take into thyself.

 

Yet, the mind does a terrible misdeed

Challenges of past can still rule your head

Doubt comes charging, inside the heart does bleed

Fighting inner wars, fears you may concede.

 

Gladly forward, face every single day

Strength you have always had will lead the way.

The Party Took A Turn

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The party took a turn when I was in the shower. Steam clouded the entire bathroom. I was waiting. It was taking its time tonight. A heavy thumping on the door makes me jump every time. Three times: THUMP pause THUMP pause THUMP! Silence. I thought it wouldn’t happen tonight. I was wrong. My eyes jerked to the curtain with the first THUMP. The second THUMP and my stomach falls to my ankles. My heart skips a beat while my testicles disappear with the third THUMP. The sound of the water beating down drowned out. Rain without sound. That rain was now scalding my skin. That damn noise!

Again.

It always takes a few moments for my breathing to get close to normal. I took hold of the shower curtain, hoping to catch a glimpse of the noisemaker. On the other hand, I wished I never caught that glimpse. No matter what, this had to stop, especially tonight. I peeked.

Like every time before, nothing was out of place. The Medicine cabinet was in one piece, its mirror fogged over but whole. Same with the pictures on the walls. Nothing had exploded out of the toilet, to my relief. I pulled on the towel rack. The best epoxy mortar firmly held it tight. Nothing was out of place. Again.

I’d had enough. Too many nights to count. Way too much fear.

On the balls of my feet, I inched over to the door, only to fling it open with an “AHA!” like I’ve done every night it’s happened.  This night there was something beyond the door, in the hallway. My yell turned into a combo “AhaaaaAhhhhhOoooo,” ending with a yelp. Jan and Patty were just outside in the tight corridor. Jan had one hand over her mouth with the other pointing at my, ahem, sacred space. Of course, she was laughing. Patty’s hand flew to her heart, at first. Then the grin slowly built up her wattage. They were both laughing tears together by this point. Patty tried to bring Jan’s pointer finger hand down, but that brought the two of them to extreme giggling.

“We need the bathroom, Davey.” Jan knew I hated that. David. I’m David.

“Um..uh…,” Patty started. “Everyone is waiting for you. You know. Downstairs. It’s your…” and then she cut off with fire rising in her cheeks that spread to the rest of her face. She was still looking. I hadn’t done anything to cover myself or hide. Hiding was always a good option.

“It’s your frigging Birthday, you nimnut.” She pointed at David’s descending pair. “Make that nimnuts.” Jan’s smile combined a shit-eating grin with that of the cat that got the canary. I started to yell at her. Mid rant, she clutched my arm, pulling me out of the bathroom. The click bounced in the hallway as Jan locked the door behind her.

Patty stood there, admiring the newly waxed parquet floors. Water was dripping off of me. I sighed. Patty giggled. I had to sidle past her. I was sucking my gut in, squeezing past Patty. As I made it to my bedroom, I heard Patty’s giggle morph into a heavy sigh as I closed the bedroom door. I think she wanted me to hear that.

Drying myself was pretty much-taken care of by then. I threw on my clothes, gelled my hair, and opened my door. I left the room, expecting to see Patty still in place outside of the bathroom.

Nope. Jan. Of course, she noticed my instant let down hound dog look. I thought I was quick to control it, but again, nope. Jan knew me too well, growing up together, one year apart. My sister was a royal pain most of the time; tonight, she wanted to be one.

“Aw, Davey, little Patty’s gone for a tinkle. Or she’s hiding. Probably both.” Jan leaned in close. “Psst…Patty knows you like her.”

“What are we? Twelve?” I shouldn’t have answered her. I should know better by now.

I don’t.

“Davey wants to kiss Patty. Davey wants to…”

I lightly stamped on her foot. I moved back out of reach.

“YOU SHIT!” was loud enough to quell some of the noise from downstairs. Jan took the stairs with an “ouch ouch” here and an “ouch ouch” there. I could tell she made it in one piece. Everyone yelled, “Jan’s back!” The noise from the party ratcheted up.

The bathroom door unlocked. Patty joined me in the hall, closing the door behind her. I noticed the shower was off. One of them had to have done that because I forgot to.

Patty looked at me, her cheeks still pink.

“David, I’m sorry. We shouldn’t have…”

“It’s over, Pat. Let it die. Jan is Jan. You know that as well as me.”

Suddenly, three heavy thumps pounded on the other side of the bathroom door.

THUMP pause THUMP pause THUMP!!

The doorknob began to turn.

 

 

Silence: Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul, AtoZ Blog Challenge

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NIGHTMARES FROM AN UNBLEACHED SOUL

SILENT

Think of the rain
As it coats the ground
Skies are darkened
Hope for sunlight to reappear
Some rains bring terror
Of flooding and rough seas
All feel adversity
Soaking their bones
It is hard to remember
Mother nature works both ways

So many curse it
Say "It's a lousy day"
It is, if that is your mind
Can't see the good it brings
As clouds come our way
Has dancing in it lost its appeal? 

Do you notice the quiet descending?
Everything softens as drops flit around
A difference in sound, sight, and feel.
There are moments of silence
Why does that scare?
Why move gentleness out of our way?
Why does your mood darken?
Don't turn your back on what can be done
It's the NO in you that fights loud
 
So many curse it
Say "It's a lousy day"
It is, if that is your mind
Can't see the good it brings
As clouds come our way
Has dancing in it lost its appeal? 
 
When did dancing in the rain
Lose it's appeal?

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MUSICIANS, or people who know musicians, hear my call
I would love to find someone to collaborate with. Not every one of the 26 Lyrical Poems are winners, and most will need some tweaking. I would just love to hear some, or all of these, put to music.

My theme for this year’s AtoZ Blog Challenge is Nightmare from an Unbleached Soul. 26 Lyrical Poems throughout April, using the letters of the alphabet as our daily jumping off point. If you want to find blogs that match your interests, check out the Master List.

Comments are always welcome. Why you like the work, or don’t, helps me in honing what I love to do.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hank’s Sorrow: Nightmares From An Unbleached Soul, AtoZ Blog Challenge

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H2020

NIGHTMARES FROM AN UNBLEACHED SOUL

HANK’S SORROW

Hello Suzanne, I'm sure you already know,
The worst that could happen; a horrible blow.
Just wanted to tell you, he did love you so
Whenever he mentioned you, his words were aglow.

He was planning on returning, to take up his place
Right beside you, for always, writ on his face
Suzanne I'm sure you've cried, a thousand times or more
Losing him a bit each time he shipped out for war. 

I know he loved you, each and every way. 
He told us to a man; all I can say
He won't be forgotten; we take to heart
A brother beyond the end, he will never depart

Know that you'll have support, from afar or so near
His loving heart is with us, nothing left to fear.
He was brave and determined every damn day
And I'm sorry...I'm sorry, that it ended this way.

His grave is waiting for the topsoil to fill 
The empty six feet down, atop this old hill. 
He loved you, loved you, his forever bride,
He's at rest now, right by your side. 

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Nightmares From An Unbleached Soul is my theme for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. 26 posts during the month of April, with Sundays off for good behavior.

I gave myself the challenge of Lyrical Poetry. I’ve had different styles of music in my head as I wrote, and will write, each piece. Would love to collaborate with a musician. If you are one, or know one, who would like to talk about it, let me know. I think it would be a learning experience on both sides.

Click on The Master List so you can find the blogs of writers, poets, photographers, recipes, and more from all over the globe.

Please comment below. Constructive critique is always welcome.

One More Day… AtoZ April Challenge

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One more day.

Follow your dream; The courage found within.

It’s been inside of me all along

All along.

Don’t give up.

Please, don’t give up.

Don’t let me down

It’s your destiny to make it to the end

Now I see the finish line

Gonna finish mine

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

One day more!

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April 1st and the Blogging from A to Z Challenge begins.

26 posts, starting with A and finishing with Z.

My theme this year:

Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul

Song Lyrics and Poetry

Something different from me to you.

Please leave a comment here in the comment section.

Click on the link for AtoZ Blog Challenge; it’s not too late to sign up.

It’s never too late to discover new blogs on a variety of subjects.

I hope you enjoy what’s to come.

Me?

I’m a bit on the terrified side.

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Copyright info for the song lyrics that make up the top “poem.”

  1. Don’t Give Up lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management
  2. Strength Courage & Wisdom lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc
  3. Follow Your Dream lyrics © Star Songs Inc.
  4. One Day More lyrics © Alain Boublil Music Ltd., Alain Boublil Music Ltd, Wb Music Corp Obo Alain Boublil Music Ltd.
  5. Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun (25th September 1967 “Top Gear”) lyrics © T.R.O. Inc.
  6. Don’t Let Me Down lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
  7. Finish Line / Drown lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Balanced Three Layer Dip

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Throughout the Mindfulness Workshop, Jenn and Eli connected. They hadn’t known each other before. They had entered at different times, took up different spaces, hadn’t exchanged even a mumbled hello. Yet, sitting diagonally across from each other atop creaky wooden chairs, they connected. One would smile as eyes connected. The other would smile back. The volley continued, intermittently, as they were working on being Mindful of the group leader of the Mindfulness Workshop.

The room filled with their connection nonetheless.

The session was interactive in conversation and small group projects. They joined in readily, paying close attention to what the other offered, laughed at the humor both exhibited. Some banter was tossed about. Eli was the cause of some group laughter, but his ears focused on Jenn’s. She’d fit in a wry quip or three. Their attention was focused.  When the physical projects had them get up and move around, they flitted around each other, trying to “play it cool” but failing. When it was time to return to their seats, they were the last to sit.

Mindfulness continued to buzz around the group. They continued to smile for each other.

The workshop ran seven minutes over time. Eli kept checking his cell phone for the time. Jenn had a full view of the wall clock that was behind where Eli was sitting. Her right leg and knee were jumping while her attention was on the final words from the group leader.

“Thank you for coming, and…” and Jenn made a beeline to Eli. He met her halfway. The others were milling about, exchanging phone numbers, giving hugs and kisses. Jenn and Eli were stuck in the middle with each other.

“Hi, I’m…,” he began.

“Eli. I know. When you introduced yourself to our opening circle, I thought, what a beautiful name. I’m Jenn.” She was truthful to a point: Eli’s name did strike her. It was his eyes, though, that caught her. When he looked her way, the twinkles in them was a spotlight only for her. Jenn felt her cheeks grow warm. She put her hand out for him to hold shake.

The smile on Eli’s face grew Cinematic wide. He reached out and took her hand. It was the briefest of moments, but he had to remind himself to shake it and let go.

“Thank you, Jenn. Jennifer?”

“Jenn. Two N’s. Jennifer is reserved for my parents. And formal me. My friends use all the different ways you can break down my name. The closest of those, though, always call me Jenny.” She wanted to hear his basso tonality say that, to slide over the two syllables.

“Jenn, with two N’s, it is.” Eli coughed slightly, then continued. “I enjoyed your part of the introduction’s sharing. It takes a lot of strength to take such a huge risk. Walking away from a well-paying job to create something that is 100% you? I admire that.”

“Thank you, Eli. It has been a passion of mine for a long time. Easy peasy.”

“It came across. Mindfulness becomes you.” Mentally, Eli was kicking himself for that cheesy line. His stomach began to clench.

Jenn chuckled.

Eli unwound the second she began to laugh and was utterly relaxed again when she smiled. He silently thanked his daughter for pushing him out of the house toward this workshop. To him, mindfulness was the new buzzword, jargon that usually left him cold. Hearing “Let’s unpack…” or any use of the word scaffolding rankled him through his spine.

Yet, even beyond Jenn, he found connections with the content espoused in the past ninety-seven minutes. Yes, he was glad he attended, on several levels. Reluctantly at first: his daughter brought her A-Game “Dhaaaaad” to Sunday dinner. She used it with precision, honing it throughout her teenage years. At twenty-eight, the tool was sharp.

In her words, Eli was: too isolated; too in his head; too withdrawn from friends; too much living in the past. Too “too!” Eli filled in the one part she wouldn’t say out loud: too much into her daily life.

So. Here. Jenn.

Something she said filtered through the inside jumble of thought. “Easy Peasy. I haven’t heard that in a while.”

Jenn shrugged. “Just a thing I got from my grandma and mom. I took it on. Easy…you know.” Caught in the small talk loop she needed to stop before it drove all of this away, Jenn asked: “I know it is not an everyday saying. How did you hear it, if you don’t mind my asking?”

Eli paused a mulling over moment. “uh…a friend I met in college. Used to say it all the time, especially when she met anything tough in her way. She “easy peasyied” her way through the four years, and beyond that.” There was a seriousness in the lessening of his twinkles.

“Still in touch?” Jenn fretted aloud; her smile perma-fixed in place.

A different pregnant pause, another “too” that his daughter brought up too many times. He hoped it was too brief to make it a thing for Jenn.

“No. Not for a while now.”

Jenn did notice, but she carried on. Into her memory book, she jotted “Button” to return to another time if there was another time.

Eli chatted around this bump, discussing the meeting, asking her take on things, how it impacted her life, her new venture. The conversation continued as they joined in folding and stacking the chairs away. Each of them was approached, separately, by the few people still in the room, connecting without really being mindful of the connection they briefly interrupted.

They found each other and left the room, walking down the hallway, then stairway to the parking lot. She discussed her ideals. He listened, showing deep attentiveness by his answers, additions, and the connections it made with his thoughts and life. She did the same.

The conversation, for Eli, was Easy Peasy. That put any dissipated glint firmly back in both eyes. Yet, they were at her car, and the parking lot lights were shutting off.

Jenn said: “It was so wonderful meeting you.” She thought fast, so that didn’t come off as a brush off line like it usually was used. “Eli, I was planning to head over to the dinner. Normally, I jot down my thoughts after workshops like this. Would you join me for coffee/tea?”

She beat him to the punch, and that warmed him.

Eli shook his head yes.

“I’d love to, Jenny.”

 

 

 

 

 

Lists

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LISTS

 

 

Lisa wrote a list for everything. A shopping list. A checklist when taking the car in for check-ups. Activities for the children, then the grandchildren, lists upon lists. There was a list for work. A list for after work. The weekly cleaning list. The weekend chore list. List after list after list: all in neat, justified left block letters. Never script, where confusions lay. Lisa had a ream of repeating lists, with the rare altercation of an addition or subtraction. She worked hard for that not to happen too often. That way leaves a door open for unnecessary anxiety.

There was one list that Lisa never put down in writing. She refused to believe that there was a need for such a list. She had scratched that off her previous life list, in indelible ink, and had no intention of finding a way to remove the blot of her life. Things moved along as they did, and Lisa’s life was list approved. She was happy, checking off everything that needed to be checked off.

Then HE crossed the line. Lisa dreaded that there was an intrusion in her life list and denied including it on any list. He was persistent in his attention, admiring her work, posting comments on her blog, praising the subtleties of her stories, the intricate character nuances that brought them to life. Lisa was flattered by the attention, but still. She was taken in by the way he constructed his stories and characters. He wrote in genres she would never have written herself, yet they drew her in so that she was breathing the same air his dramatis personae did.

They lived hours away from each other. He calculated it once, after she gave in to his questing, that they lived  214.7 miles apart. Lisa relaxed. He remained off of her list. Her main list. Well, maybe he was an asterisk to the bottom at first. The asterisk s l o w l y moved up the side of one checklist, then another, intruding in places Lisa had had no intentions for intrusions to begin, or stay. Or to leave her in pondering mini-panic.

Their commentaries took a total of nine weeks and four days to move to personal emails. A month later, they began texting. One and a half weeks and their voices met in a two-hour-plus phone conversation. Which grew in spurts, various lengths of time talking, while still commenting on each other’s new postings. The daily texts just happened. If she had listed all of this, the trajectory of it all, the magnitude, would have had her not only blot out each entry but she would have shredded the list, torn the paper to bits, and then thrown the bits into the roaring firepit at her son’s place.

Lisa astounded herself when she heard the word “Yes” leave her lips when he asked if they could meet. In-person. Face to face. A day out from behind the sterile safety of their 214.7 miles. When the plans were concrete, place, day, and time set, Lisa allowed a bubbling list to grow inside of her. They were going to get together the following Saturday. Six days. High noon, he insisted. She loved that movie. She was in.

For the almost full week, Lisa ran 12 pros and cons lists, eight of them written, the others worked in her head as she drove back and forth to her part-time job. The pros beat the cons one drive to, whereas the cons vastly outweighed the pros on the way home. She prepped, changed decisions about things she had firmly decided on, and clogged her wastebasket with itsy bitsy scraps of lists.

Saturday arrived. She was determined to go through with meeting him. Lisa was listless as she drove to the place they decided to meet at an offbeat museum with a decidedly macabre collection and history. Her choice, his ready acceptance, was near the top of her Pro lists every time.

She pulled into the lot, parked the car, and sat to breathe. She pulled out the mini-list she had made that morning and checked the few points off. Unbuckling her shoulder seat belt was the next to last item.

Lisa looked out her car window, toward the front of the museum. He was standing there, bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet. She took a deep breath in, held it, let it out slowly, and then opened the car door and got out. He waved and smiled. She returned both, checking off the last thing on that meeting list as she walked over to join him.

Jump At The Son

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JUMP AT THE SON

 

He was usually by my side. In his early days, we walked hand in hand. As our walks increased in step by step increments, he’d hold his arms way up high. Of course, I picked him up, carrying and mini snuggles. Other times he rode on my shoulders, clutching my hair. We became a Two-Headed Monster. We shared a gnarly growl; it always announced the monster’s arrival.

Always.

Yet, years pass as they dispassionately are prone to. From my side, hand-holding, carry snuggles, becoming a Monster were abandoned. We went on chases instead; more me chasing him. Then he’d chase after me, laughing so hard his head popped off his neck when I turned the table back to chasing him. When I was his prey, he always caught me. Once in a while, I would catch him.

We morphed into One less and less. We lost the “carry me,” and hand-holding didn’t exist.  By this point in our lives, we also lost the Monster.

He never said “Goodbye” to either of us.

Things change.

Things changed.

We ran the gauntlet most parents know. As he slalomed around me, his looking up to me would change to “I hate you!” to apologies and understandings, and back to volatile disagreements. In those cases, the slamming of his bedroom door was the coda that generally ended in “Arrrrggghhh!” from both sides of the door. There began the push away/pull me back times. From a protected, cared for son, a new monster, singular, appeared. He was striving to grow up, to be self-reliant. Independent.

Moments blipped passed us. We talked. We gave each other the Silent Treatment. Doing something fun together could quickly flip into parent shunning. I was waiting.

Waiting for things to even out, for our varying personalities to allow each other to breathe again when we were together. It happened with no rush to make it real. We had been on a strained thin rope, correcting our balances, expecting the other to fall.

I know there were times he did not like me. It might have bordered on hatred, but that remains in his secrets stash. It’s hard to say, but there were times I did not like him. Love, yes. I’ve always loved him.

Things change.

Things changed.

Marriage happenings took over our lives. He committed himself to his bride, his mate, his best friend; my commitment dissolved around me, shredding into strips and then pieces. What was left was a tattered life. It all turned to ashes.

I’m proud of the man he has built for himself. He holds his strengths, his humor, his intelligence, and his weaknesses.

We are no longer a combined Two-Headed Monster, physically. There are those moments that sneak up on us, where our inner gnarly growling meshes. It may happen across the many miles that separate up. Face to face, the growl surfaces.

In those times I can shout out: “Beware. Beware! The Two-Headed Monster has arrived.”

It’s still alive.

In some ways, things stay the same.