The Goddess strode into Janiculum through the Gates of Prógramma Spoudón. Her long, unbound hair trailed, tendrils caressing those in her wake. The colors shifted with every other step, taking on the hues of the flowers of the land. Some colors came from other realities, yet none in her presence remarked on the uniqueness. Tall, shapely, skin of a golden-olive hue, caught each eye, young and old alike.
The city-state was festooned with garlands of the sweetest aroma of the scythed. Purple hued feathery fronds, strung through the masses of golds, reds, yellows, and blues. It had taken a harvest to adorn the Goddess Alcyeyx’s walk way to her temple.
Deep genuflections as she passed. The muddy streets stained the linen Himation the populace wore. None were concerned. Their Goddess had arrived. Cheers of “Bless the Winds. Bless the Seas” reverberated throughout. The surrounding mountains concurred in receding echo.
Omens of dire times to come were brushed away with Alcyeyx’s arrival. The Oracle of the Peak wailed her laments to deaf ears once the Goddess arrived. Submitting to the inevitable, the Oracle retreated before the Sun vanished into the ocean. She knew she would return. After.
Rituals were cast, wine flowed, the food was plentiful. Everything was carried to excess. Children with slightly bloated bellies lay fast asleep on straw, patches of grass, and the shorn gardens. They nestled in the land of dreams.
The wine was never ending. Alcyeyx bequeathed that to her people, her devotees, her sacrificial stream. The crowds grew raucous as the skies went black. Fights were few; love making was key. Other lands degraded their festivals, the obscene, to them, rendering of garments, the cries of passions, the coming of more children being placed.
All of those in Janiculum were lost in their revels, as was Alcyeyx. Many women of youth and of age tasted the Goddess’s lips, felt the strong soft gliding over their unadorned flesh. As many came to Alcyeyx as she went to her worshippers. All were left beyond sated.
Except Alcyeyx, whose inner turmoil, the two sides of her constantly clashing, left part of her drained as the other part was elated. This had been the way of things since their metamorphosis. Two strong essences tugged, one always angry, the other mad. Or so the Angry One crowed.
Ten times ten², or when counting ended, were the battles, the pleas, the promises…
Z always called V out on the promises. For a while after, things would subside.
The call of the winds at the ascending sun found Alcyeyx looking beyond the walls of this beloved stronghold. Janiculum was one of the few things they embraced. Yet, the need for elsEwhen called.
The Goddess lifted her arms, raised her chin, and felt the West Wind blow her hair East.
If anyone had been awake at this juncture, they would surely have noticed the golden-olive hued Kingfisher take to the skies and then…
Khione, Nymph of contempt and snow, took satisfaction in Alcyeyx’s leave-taking.
Now, it was Khione’s time to take.
The Kingfisher squabbled with itself, as it phased into the void.
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.
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.
“Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived.” ~ ~ Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Zero hour. Day. Era. Epoch. Eon. Aeon.
Z subdivides along a non-unilinear line. Stopping milliseconds to absorb, dispel, bask.
Those are the fragments where a thought filters through.
Z assembles the pieces. Z experiences every emotional spectrum idea, searching for
Z does not believe in love. Love, to Z, equates to Pain.
Pain is a constant. Love=Pain never has/is/will be love ≠ pain. It is exact. For Z, it is exact.
There are no approximates.
Any/every instance Love touches Z is followed by an infinite drop.
Z is lost.
Inside, Z is lost in gathering specifics. The pure, unwavering distillation of Z’s perception ofLove.
The amassing is complete.
Z stretches the limits of time to compact and keep.
The next second arrives.
Without the pain association. Z is blocking out the aftermath, the thrown away aspect, the being left, unnoticed, unwanted.
Another point arrives. The whole splinters.
NEW!!!!TALE SPINNING is also a Podcast!
I plan to start recording MY reading of my posts. Maybe by 5/12/2021. Knowing me, maybe 2022. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the narration.
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.
Julie and Steve
In teenage lust angst
Lantern lit, hidden nook
Atrocities attacked ere consummation
Sending them heedlessly running along
On Old Blackwash Road
Julie was screaming
Until her voice decayed
Steve pulled ahead
No thought of her pumping away
Julie tried to catch up
Down Old Blackwash Road
If words could take aim
Steve would have heard her pleas
Curses tossed through him
Voiceless, running still
Left alone under moonlight
Fever pitch dashing on Old Blackwash Road
Steve's mind was blanker
Except for grinding terror
Pushing himself faster on
It was primal, fierce
As his lungs began to seize
Slowing on Old Blackwash Road
Julie haven found above
Crawling up an ancient oak
She saw Steve plunge to the ground
Closed her eyes ridigidly shut
Prayed, then dug her nails into the wood
Surrounding Old Blackwash Road
Steve's wails turned raw
Before they abruptly terminated
Julie clung for more than her worth
Tree sap glued her to her spot
Unaware of it till morning light
Dawn awakening Old Blackwash Road
Time moved through Julie
Frozen to the spot
Heat of the day came fiercely
Freeing her from tree secretion
Setting her down upon
Empty Old Blackwash Road
She fled the scene half naked
The ground was bare of Steve
Her throat hurt as she sobbed aloud
No tears were left inside her
As she stumbled upon Route 40
Connected to Old Blackwash Road
Julie withdrew and hid inside
While the Sheriff did his best
Steve was never found, even a tiny bit
"It's happened before," they all knew for true
Julie shrugged. What could she say or do
About Old Blackwash Road?
Mark convulsed in the mudded pit and dissolved. Spasms had wracked his form as he wormed his way along the rain-drenched ground. He did not sense the sharp drop that brought him to his end. Yes, I watched his final journey. I stood at the lip of the pit, watched his death, and walked home.
Why did I watch? Why didn’t I do anything? I had done something. His ending began with me.
You look startled. Why? You know Mark and I were never friendly towards the other. He stabbed me in the back as many times I stabbed him. Staying away from each other was the prudent thing to do, we both knew that. We even laughed together one evening over that thought, sipping our glasses of red. The bar was thriving that night.
Some weren’t after we finished with them. Yes, I know, Mark and I, rivals, blah blah blah. The hunt drew us together now and then, generally by sheer coincidence. At least, that is what I had always thought.
It turned out that Mark had planned every encounter. I have to give him his due: his skill in lying far surpassed mine. When I found the truth, I was a tad humbled. Mark’s lying was at mastery level. I worked hard to take mine to his level.
Why did he do it? Why did he hate me that severely? Old story. It was always a game of one-upmanship between us. Always. Mark would not accept that I could exceed him in any way. It was no more than a game of egos, until, it wasn’t.
It all started with Claire. He wanted her. She chose me. Once her bloodied body was discovered, nothing between us would ever be the same game again. I’d take from him. He’d indulge in returning the favor. We were living in a harsh cycle. The drawn blood between us had been notorious.
Yes, yes. That was centuries ago. So?
Why now, you ask? What brought our mutual loathing to an end now?
Mark and I have always been scrutinizing each other. Weaknesses praised and used to our advantage. This became our goal: seeking knowledge to use to the other’s detriment. Who won or lost these challenges was of no concern, then.
It came to my attention that Mark had studied me far deeper all along. It came to me in whispers along the way. Sycophants whose loyalties drifted between Mark and me. I ignored most of them as pure gossip. I knew I spun my tales to unsettle Mark.
Until most recently, I believed we were on even ground.
What? Of course, I was wrong! Yes, yes, always headstrong, blah blah.
Mark’s planning had reached a summit. It was due to begin this very evening. Ha! He had rallied many to his side. I thought we were equally loathed. Again, I was wrong, but…there will be a reckoning.
His plan: attack and obliterate everything, and everyone, that I possess. Every single element that is mine. I may not have a heart, but Marks’s scheme was that threat one step too far. I confronted him on this.
Of course, he denied it all. What else would one expect?
No matter: he would never take what was mine again.
That night’s storm was tearing up the sky. That was pure coincidence, convenient on my part.
I had reached out to him. He responded, and met me that night outside of a long-standing bar we both favored. Accusations and denials tore into the night sky. Sharp words turned to sharper claws.
We did grave damage to each other, of course.
On a muddied slope, Mark lost his balance. Miniscule, but I took my advantage. I was getting the best of Mark. Deep in the forest at this point, Mark went down to the earth, glaring my way. I imagine that he felt this was our usual. Spar, hurt the other to that point, He hadn’t prepared for me to take this to a true Endinig.
I did. I fought dirtier than usual, slashing his in violence I had not known I was capable of. Panting, Mark began to sidle away. I pulled out a weapon we had both sworn would never enter our conflicts. Embedded with Elder rune, I weighed the silver blessed dagger in my left hand. Mark screamed as the dagger plunged through his hide with ease.
Yes, more than once. Many more times.
You would have laughed at the look on Mark’s face as he passed on.
I did. It was exquisite.
No? You’d instead it was my face, my death?
Ah, friend, I’m not sure I believe your poo-pooing. That will be another discussion between us. Yes?
On your central question of “Why?” Really? After all these years we have left behind us, you feel the need to ask, “Why?”
Claire. It was still about Claire. For me, always, it has always been about Claire.
Drink up. Your glass of red is cooling off.
Good. Good. Now, let us discuss one last thing.
Why did you join Mark’s plot against me?
Looking for a new online writer’s group to satisfy your passion?
I am the organizer and host of two separate groups:
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.
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.
Oye. Usted. Look at that handsome guyAttractive and sexy, he almost makes you cry
That hombre guapo stirs up your pulse
You tramp around, a gata in heat
One look and you shiver everywhere.
You didn't really think this through
The look in his eyes a devilish glare
His smile is crooked, he licks his lips
Drawing you closer, he puts hands on your hips
Your scent is in the air, enticing
As he comes for you with stealth
You're taken by false charm
Insincere compliments as well
Flattered by his lying words
Flattered by his leer
Everything about him screams
"Sal de aquí! Get Out Of Here!"
Then he takes you, holds your arms
From crooked to enticing, enchanted by his smile
How beautiful a smile, enticed by his charm
But hidden underneath is something vile.
As he leads you into a slow street dance
Notice no one's giving you a glance
You lean into him as you twirl around
Ask him his name as you give him yours.
A howl erupts from him, laughter you can't hear
The slow spins accelerates to rapido gyrates
He draws you tighter, chest to chest
"Viruñas," he says as he grabs your breast.
You want to fight him, you want to flee
But his mouth is on yours; it wobbles your knees
You can't stop kissing, you close your eyes
Tasting blood on tip of your tongue
Feeling something in you is pulling away
Thoughts you have start to decay
Nothing makes sense; a chaotic mess
You give up your last then tossed away
Viruñas is pleased; she had a tasty soul
Feeding the inferno within; it cries out for more
Putting on another handsome face, natty clothes
The good looking Diablo stalks his next prey
In Columbian mythology, Viruñas (the Evil One), is considered a representation of Satan and appears as a handsome man who steals the souls of the people. He is a nightmare? Should I have included more Columbian language or leave it out entirely? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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.