Wrote you a love letter Then tore it up to bits Took the shredded pieces Threw them in a pit Setting it on fire Watched the passion glow Each piece flared from another The flames of nevermore Wrote you a love letter Knew I would not send Wrote you a love letter Sealed it with my blood Stood there with the ashes As they crumbled away The wind sent some flying Forever out of reach The seasons took the rest Let it slip away Walked away in silence Left behind a stain Wrote you a love letter Knew I would not send Wrote you a love letter Words etched in my head Wrote you love, and Sealed it with my blood
“I don’t think it is possible to contribute to the present moment in any meaningful way while being wholly engulfed by it.” Maria Popova
Z grasps the fringe of Khronos
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” ~ ~ Albert Einstein
COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME AND APPRECIATED.
TALES OF TALE SPINNING
The A to Z Epics, More or Less
I started Tale Spinning at the beginning of 2011 as an offshoot of BornStoryteller. The latter went more towards non-fiction, rants, comparisons, and observations. Tale Spinning: an experiment in creative writing was the space I needed.
Since then, I’ve gone through periods of both non-stop writing and those “dry” spells, where nothing inspired or motivated me.
Joining the A to Z Blogging Challenge in April 2011 was one of the smartest moves I’ve ever made. I’ve pushed my own boundaries over the ten years, always looking for that “challenge.” Taking risks is stimulating. A lot of what I write is expressing what is burning within me at the moment.
Which is probably why I have trouble continuing plunging into the worlds and characters I’ve built over the years. The roller-coaster upheaval of my life during these last ten years have jaggedly flowed from euphoric to complete and utter numbness. This isn’t a pity party. Just stating the facts, ma’am.
Many bloggers/writers I have “met along the way have become family. What is “Family is Chosen” for $2,000, Alex?” (Man, I miss Alex Trebek. Right now, I am Team Levar Burton to become the new host. Reading Jeopardy Rainbow!). It’d take me the rest of the day (it’s early here) to point you all out, but my thanks and love are hereby sent. I even met the woman I love writing these blog posts during that first A to Z. Present tense, even though we are not together anymore.
List Time. In case, you know, want to read past (and present) A to Z attempts. Each set starts with A on April 1st of that year. There might be a few preceding posts/teases over the years as I tried out the new voice I was shooting for.
A TO Z POSTS
- 2021: Liquid Time (Current Series)
- 2020: Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul (Lyrical Poetry, 25 posts)
- 2019: A Car In the Woods (Science Fiction/Horror/Thriller, 27 posts)
- 2018: The Abysmal Dollhouse (Serial Paranormal/Horror story, 26 posts)
- 2016: Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas (Serial Detective story, 26)
- 2014: Road Signs (Drabbles-100 words Exactly, 26)
- 2012: The Apartment Building: Swan Rise (Serial drama, 26)
- 2011: The Lesser of Two Evils (attempted SciFi satire, 23 posts)
Here’s something not A to Z that I’d love to get your feedback/comments. I keep getting drawn back to it on an emotional/mental level, but have not added a thing to it in quite a while. These were written during the summer of 2011.
HALCYON POINT OF APOAPIS
“The moment is not properly an atom of time but an atom of eternity. It is the first reflection of eternity in time, its first attempt, as it were, at stopping time.” ~ ~Søren Kierkegaard
A total absence of light.
Whatever you have thought of as darkness is another lie. The bromides swirl with similes, throwing up black as night, a raven, a ministers cloak, the death card, a void, as pitch, black as the devil’s heart. You’ve lost paradise, unaware that the loss is profound.
Valentina Ceit Marin never gave any thought to the immensity of Eternity. She had been filled beyond any brim with awareness of the moment, framing the moments to come, shedding the moments of the past. Her no looking back attitude has brought her HERE.
Panic is begging to take control. The gut squeezes tight. Both temples are strafing her head, settling into the eyes, the base of the nasal passage. Valentina tried to raise her hand to pinch the bridge of her nose. No hand came. Trying again, failure beat a drum. All jointed points of her skeleton were trigger locked. She took in that she could breath, that her eyes still rolled around, that the lids could go up or down.
It was then that she grew aware of what was not outside of her body. She wasn’t standing on any surface. No chains or puppet master strings held her up. She wasn’t floating, drifting around the void of space. Neither weightless nor sense of being. She was THERE.
Panic began to win. She had a mouth but it would not open to release the inside screams. Knowing this was not the her that she was and the her she cultivated, the shell, direct confrontation, the eagerness, the mean moments, the want of things, the dismissals. It was too much.
It was, too much.
A fracture of light.
Z was. Here. There.
A vast difference of space split them apart. The were opposites in depth.
Sweat filtered through Val’s skin. It beaded and dripped from her brow, coated her arms. Another aspect that was not Val.
She could not do anything.
My name is John Meadows, at least, that’s what it says on my birth certificate. At this moment, I’m not sure if that is even true.
I woke up in a bedroom. It was an unknown space. Except, as I lifted my head up off the pillow, I noticed a picture that looked familiar. I stood, walked over to it: it was flush with the wall. An outdoor moment in time. There was a man, and a woman. They held each other, big smiles on their faces.
The man leaned on a vast gnarled tree. Instead of branches, It looked as if seven tree trunks wound around each other, an abstract weave of latticework wood. The leaves were thick, a dark shade of green that looked almost like they were black. They hung over the couple like a frame.
The woman had her head resting on the man’s shoulder. His hair fell to his collar, so dark that at first, I thought it looked like it was cut out of the photo. Her hair was lighter, a mixture of golden brown and red. I remembered that it was called Auburn. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that at first. Yes, Auburn-haired, long, it fell down and over his chest, making his torso look like it disappeared as well.
The photo bothered me. Her eyes sparkled when the shot was taken. His eyes held little to no reflection. I looked. His didn’t, even with the sunlight spotlighting where they stood. Her eyes, the tilt of her head, her smile: there was life. He smiled, but it didn’t seem to reach his eyes. They were flat.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a free-standing full-body mirror to my left. It stood at a tilt near white folding slat doors. I shuffled my way over to it. I could not remember what I looked like, nor who I was. Maybe, I thought, looking at the reflection, things would come into focus. My heart began to accelerate, chest tightening, and it was getting difficult to breathe. I hadn’t been aware of breathing before this. I was now.
Coming into full view, I felt my head had received something smashing into it. It hurt like hell. I had to touch my head. It felt like bone shattered. I checked. It felt solid. But the pain. It was like a steel bar was slammed against my forehead.
A steel bar? Why did I…no, more a bat? Baseball? No, no. A baseball. Yes, a baseball hurtling to me, not even registering that I needed to move, to duck, do something. But it was too fast. I was too slow. I was up, then nothing. It felt just like that, although I didn’t know why. I still don’t know why I felt that way when I stepped in front of the mirror.
Yes, I was the man in that photo, even though I did not remember that. It was clear upon viewing, my eyesight was waving, no floaters, no film distortion over the irises. I looked at myself in the mirror, then over to the photo. Goosebumps paraded across my spine.
Turning, I took in the rest of the room. White minimalism in paint and fabrics. Same with my pajama pants. I noticed, then, that I had no shirt on. A look in the mirror traveled down; before, I was solely intent only on my face. My chest was hairy but not matted. Three parallel deep pink scars ran from my left armpit to just past the bellybutton. An inny. They didn’t hurt as much as throb. Noticing them did not help my rapid breathing and heart rate.
The next moments are still a blur. I know I looked around: the place had been tidy when I awoke. Now, drawers, men’s clothing, papers littered the white. All the bed linen was on the floor. The sliding slat doors were open wide, showing a closet that was only half full. I took this all in, sitting on the floor, leaning against the bed. I felt something hard and looked down. I had a metal lockbox in my hands. My breathing shallowed, and I felt myself calm down to regular human beats. At least, what I thought were normal.
There was no lock to have to break into. The lid swung up with ease, showing the mound of papers it carried. I riffled through the envelopes, unfolded the various papers, and only stopped when I found a Birth Certificate. Mine, I have assumed, until someone tells me differently.
My name is John Meadows.
If you are listening to this tape, then most likely I am dead. Or too far away for any meaning of living or dead is inconsequential. This is the story of what happened from that moment of waking, clueless to everything that had meaning to me. I know that the woman in the photo was Jean, my partner. I know she no longer…is here. Where? At this time, I still do not know how to answer that.
Whoever you are, whenever you are, do yourself and loved ones a favor.
Do not stand under the leaves of that massive, gnarled tree.
It is not the Tree of Life.
Singing Songs of Joy and Peace*
We know what strict is
In the counts of the missing
The missing found
Splatters of their former selves
Shatters of what memories we had
Pushing away the viewpoints of before
It has to be forgotten
Or drag us into the mud
Meaningful deaths, but not now
They graphically get pushed away.
The clarity of the season was here
Wintery chills drifting along open skin
Particles inappreciable in white shells
Ingesting the soot of the days and nights
The wet becomes us
Slogging through the cold
We’re nothing but walking icicles
Degradation in our feet
Mornings must start with songs of Joy
From barracks to fields
To lift any spirit that could be raised
Through enforced blockage of what’s to come
Songs of Peace enforced taking Joys place
Blaring out, amplified unjust
Home is dancing in the street
Yet no dance here; our patterns are strict,
As long as this weather held.
Mercurial temperaments of nature
Have no sense of staying put
Wished away, ignoring petty whines
Pleading prayers always unheard
Chilled or sweltering
We melted or froze
In the fullness of time,
The weather changed.
Of the frozen deaths
We revoked our hearts
Set to extra toils
Making up for the dead
Of our sweat drenched backs
We camouflaged our hearts
What was left of them, numb or dead.
As long as this weather holds
“This” becomes mythical
While we wait; We wait
Continuing to give up lives
Joining the unremembered in their weather passage.
The egregious screws are welded holdfast
As we sing songs of Joy and Peace
Nevertheless the vagaries of weather;
Nonetheless what clasps us to those songs.
Opposite actions enforced.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
“Songs of joy and peace” come from Joni Mitchel’s beautiful song, River. I had listened to it only minutes before when I shut off my music app and tuned into that night’s writing group, River River Writer’s Circle. The prompt was “When the weather changes.” The above happened, was shared, and got the suggestion: “Think about expanding this out” (well, “stretching it out”). So, I let it sit, came back to it, and the above is the result.
Thank you, Ms. Mitchel. A sad, but integral song for many. What I wrote is no reflection on her song. The fourth line of the first stanza stayed with me.
The opening stanza from Joni Mitchel’s River is:
It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on
EDIT: Boy, am I dense!
RiverRiver Writer’s Circle.
I just realized it. Not planned at all. Doh! Oy! :::palmface:::
©Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Winds break rooted trees
Rains like bullets pounding
Virus, Tornado, as one
Which brings more devastation?
” The tanka is a thirty-one-syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. A form of waka, Japanese song or verse, tanka translates as “short song,” and is better known in its five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form.” ©poets.org
- 1st Sentence: 5 Syllables
- 2nd Sentence: 7 Syllables
- 3rd Sentence: 5 Syllables
- 4th Sentence: 7 Syllables
- 5th Sentence: 7 Syllables
IN THE NIGHT
Looking for a new online writer’s group to satisfy your passion?
I am the organizer and host of two separate groups:
- RevitalWriters: Critique. Done. Write.
- For the more serious writers needs support on their WIP and honing their craft.
- RevitalWriters will be a weekly cohort.
- Visit MeetUp to RSVP RevitalWriters. (click the link)
- Fridays at 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. EST
- Daydreamers Writing Club
- Your weekend retreat for writing and join others like you: a passion to write.
- Sessions run Saturday mornings, 10:00 am to Noon, EST
- Visit our MeetUp page to join this community: Daydreamers Writing Club
Both groups welcome writers of any genre or style.
We hope to see you.
by Stuart Nager©
“Wendy. Close the window. It is freezing in here.”
John was flat on his back, under his sheets and quilt. He had his right arm draped over his eyes. Truth be told, it was his nightshirt that did the draping. John’s arm was across his brow. He had to remind himself to relax, for he was leaving an indent in the lower forehead.
Wendy sat on the padded window bench; knees tucked up tight against her chest. Her arms encircled her legs. The window was ajar, allowing the night winds free entry into the bedroom. Wendy searched the clouds, looking. Praying. Hoping.
The wind whipped up, bursting past the lead paned glass. It sends Wendy’s nightshirt fluttering. Her shoulders lifted, her immaculate posture in place. Wendy tilted her head just so. She knew what he liked.
As did she.
“Arrrrrr, matey!” John used his pirate voice, doing his best to make her laugh. Wendy did not laugh nor smile. Jumping out of bed, John had to untangle himself from the bedsheets. All of the bed coverings wound up on the floor.
“Wendy, it is freezing in here. Shut the window, please.” He looked over at Michael, deep in slumber. His consistent snoring was the proof he was asleep. He could never duplicate that sound when he was faking to stay in bed. Mother saw right through him.
Wendy shushed him.
“You know he won’t wake up. He’s dead to the world right now.”
She shushed him again. John grabbed his quilt from the floor, whipping it over his head and onto his shoulders. So encased, John approached his sister. Wendy was still eyeing the night sky.
John plopped down on the other side of the bench, pulling the blanket even tighter around him. Just as his teeth started to chatter, he realized Wendy was only in her night clothing. Reversing the quilt, he laid one end over his sister.
“Thank you, John,” she whispered, far away from the room. John followed where she was looking. She’d change an angle; he would mirror it. “Darling bookends,” Liza would say if the housemaid was in the room. He smiled at that thought. Wendy noticed him as his smile slowly crept back inside him.
“Wendy. He’s not coming back. He isn’t. Shh. Please hear me out. We’ve had this…this…talk far too often. Fourteen months have passed. No pirates. No Indians. No Tink. No Pe…”
Reaching over, Wendy placed the four fingers of her left hand gently over his mouth.
“Enough, John. Please. I know. I still hope. I still have hope. Every blessed night I have hope. It just,” Wendy stopped, turning her head back to gazing the now unclouded sparkling heavens. “It just hurts, John.”
He nodded his head. What was left to say? They had had this conversation far too many times. It always ended in tears. There were many nights where John tried his best to distract her. The successful evenings were spent making up stories of what battle or mischief he would be embroiled in, smack in the center of it all. She’d laugh at many of his tales. The more outlandish he made them, the more Wendy relaxed. And she’d stop looking out the window.
The less beneficial nights would come, ones where John felt powerless. Wendy, questioning, always the same. “Why doesn’t he return?” John knew there were two unspoken words to that query: “For her.”
Wendy did turn her head back to John. “No stories tonight, please. My insides are so knotted, so heavy. Not tonight, dear John. Not tonight.”
He nodded his head, and the two sat quietly by the window. No one spoke. Michael snored. They both yawned, Wendy insisting John started it. John, naturally, accused Wendy.
“We better get to bed. I don’t wish Mother to be cross with us in the morning.” She stood up, patting her nightwear down into a proper shape. John noticed Wendy’s hesitation before she reached over and closed the window. The sound of the latch fitting in place brought a feathery gasp from her lips. Her arms, as always, crossed over her heart.
John returned to bed. He tossed all the linen quilt back on the bed, diving under it all for warmth. John’s face was warm. He felt an unpleasant tightening in his chest. He should have hugged her, said he’ll always be there for her, that she was the best sister anyone ever had. John only said: “Good night, Wendy,” as she closed the door, tiptoeing down the hallway to her room.
As Wendy made it to her bed, her thoughts swallowed her whole. She thought of the unfairness of growing up. How much Wendy wanted to share the same bedroom with her brothers again. How much she wished she had stayed and not returned home. All swept away by the burning question she held tight: “Why hasn’t Peter returned for me?”
It was just over a month that Wendy overheard “The” conversation. Wendy, supposedly in bed, was walking by Mother’s bedroom. The door was partially open. Peeking in, Mother was sitting at her vanity, Liza behind her, counting out the number of times she ran the brush through Mother’s hair.
Wendy was not pleased that Mother was now calling her “a proper young lady.” She had experienced her first flow, a most embarrassing event. Her bones were achy almost all the time. She started maturing. Wendy’s new clothing, the changes in her body, all of it left her feeling embarrassed and humiliated. Wendy’s deep sadness permeated throughout her.
She knew why Peter did not come for her.
Why he would not come for her, ever again.
Wendy wished she had never eavesdropped.
“100,” Lisa stated, putting the hairbrush down on the table. “Miss Wendy is starting to fill out, mum. She’ll be as beautiful as you. Not that she isn’t a pretty young thing now.”
Mother was silent, staring into the mirror. Wendy was sure Mother would not answer Liza. Just as she began to walk away, Wendy heard Mother say, “I know it is the right thing to do, Liza. It is time that Wendy a room to herself. She is blossoming. It is time for her to grow into being a proper young lady. But.” Mother left that word dangling on its own.
“Yes, but,” Liza agreed. “It will be for the best.”
Mother nodded. “I do pray that this will ease the burden she carries. Wendy needs to let this fantastical story of flying, pirates, faeries…” Mother sighed. “She needs to let it go.”
Wendy moved away from the door.
The next day Wendy was given her room. She sulked alone for the next two days, only leaving her confines for meals that she picked at. The third night, though, she had had enough.
Wendy immediately ran to the bedroom she had shared with her brothers. She threw the door wide open. Her feet glided across the nursery floor until she got up on the window. Kneeling, Wendy opened the windows. She crept to the window frame, her eyes fixated on the dark, laden clouds above. No stars were visible. Rain, though: rain fell ferociously. Wendy became a soaking wet sponge instantly. She kneeled on the pane for a long while.
A noise coming from the doorway startled Wendy out of her fugue. Wendy slightly turned and saw Liza standing in the hallway.
“Wendy Darling,” Liza trumpeted. She stamped her feet as she approached the window seat, not thinking of the boys at all. Upon arrival, Liza shooed Wendy to move away. “Young lady, what has gotten into you? You were not in your room. I knew you would be here. You, young lady, are heading straight to your room: a hot bath and fresh nightshirt. Go on. I’ll be right behind you.”
Wendy, shivering, glanced at her brothers, warmly tucked in. She smiled although her heart was shattering.
When she heard the latch fall into place, she sat on the floor and cried.
NIGHTMARES FROM AN UNBLEACHED SOUL
Writing In Captivity
The AtoZ is a challenge. I take that seriously. Since 2011, my first foray into this, I have changed gears from year to year. I like stretching beyond my comfort zones. Some of it has been well taken in both Stats and comments. Others, like this year, not so much.
I am pleased with what I chose to do: write 26 Lyrical Poems under the theme title. Write every day in April, except Sundays. I have written poetry before, many well received by the readers. But, I write in that style intermittently.
This was truly a challenging April.
If you’ve followed from April 1st with Awakenings to Zealous O’er the Seas, you’ve experienced my venting, wistfulness, wishing, observations, and anger through my words. Some I rhymed on purpose, some I just let the words loose.
Every single poem was written with a genre of music or musician’s styling playing in my head. I did not intend to appropriate any specific song; it’s the overall mood they convey and are masters of. I’ve written songs before, but I have no knowledge of musical notation and I don’t play a musical instrument. I hear it inside and then turn to someone to collaborate with. From humming it out, setting the beats (as I see them), hearing it played, gets me going. Seeing how the meter is off from one (or many) line(s) starts my rewrite of the lyrics if needed. Tweaking the piece, scrapping whole verses, you know: first to finished draft.
The music that drifted around me as I wrote the poem daily (I don’t pre-write) is varied:
- Big Band/Crooners; Folk music; Rap (as I understand it); Sea Shanties; Rock; Heavy/Thrash Metal; Alt Rock & Alt-Country; Punk; Romantic-ish; Blues; Singer/Songwriter.
- Artists: Tom Waits; Leonard Cohen; The Kinks; Joni Mitchel; Peter Gabriel; Kate Bush; Sousie and the Banshees; Alestorm; Dean Martin; St. Vincent; later Beatles; Beck; The Clash; The Cure; and others that my mind can’t latch onto right now.
Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul
Why Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul? What does that mean, to you? What do you think it means to me? I asked that question near the end of the month and got one response.
Noor Anand Chawla wrote:
I think your title alludes to the fact that you lay yourself and perhaps your worst fears, bare to your audience, through these 26 pieces. “Nightmares” refer to your worst fears, and “unbleached soul” refers to the absence of restraint and being absolutely honest about your feelings.
Perhaps my explanation is too simplistic? What do you think?
Noor pretty much nailed it. I feel that nightmares go beyond our sleep. They are all around us. It could be people, situations, personal fears, perceived fears, and hurt that you feel has been done to you, or that you have done to yourself.
Noor also got the “Unbleached Soul” part. I would add to that when we follow the crowd, stop thinking on our own (or made to stop), refuse to look at things from another angle = Bleached. Soul or Mind: interchangeable.
Overall, I am a non-conformist. I despise the statement “We’ve always done it this way!” For me, there is no box for me to think out of. It’s been imposed on me time and again. Not my thing. I’m creative. I don’t always follow mindless rules, inflexible, with no desire to even listen to a different POV. Sometimes I’ve done that: those are the times I get headaches constantly and down more aspirin than I should.
Try Noor’s blog (link above). I think you’ll enjoy her writing.
I love the AtoZ Blog Challenge. I’ve come across some amazing writers, and many have become online friends. Their pieces are varied from all types of fiction to creative non-fiction to reviews and more. That’s a big part of why I come back.
As I mentioned above, I like a challenge when writing. This gives me that opportunity with the potential to reach well beyond the people who follow me. I’m not hawking for new followers. The performer side of me wants people to want more, for the readers to take what they will from the piece that can touch them &/or make them think.
I am disappointed, again already mentioned, with my stats and comments this year. This was the smallest audience of all my years participating. I went out on a limb, poured a lot of what’s inside of me (as Noor mentioned), and while getting some amazing feedback I wonder what didn’t connect with others. Normally, I’ve had serialized stories that are long in length. I get that. Long posts are sometimes passed over, especially when you are blog hopping.
If I join in again next year, I have a lot of contemplation ahead of me.
Big thanks to Arlee Bird and all the other hosts who worked on this year’s Atoz Blog Challenge. It is obvious how much work they have put in. It shows in many ways.
Big thanks 2, to all of my readers, commenters, and supporters. Too many to name, but know your interaction is priceless.
Stay safe and healthy, everyone.