Tag Archives: literacy

The Brother Spectrum

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Night, a dark room,  twin beds on opposite walls.

“William. William. William…when I die, will I still look out for you? William? I know I’ll be in heaven. How far is heaven, William? How far is heaven? William? William?  When I die, will I still look out for you?”

William lay awake on his back in his bed, a baseball cap clenched between his teeth. His open eyes stared into the darkness, his thoughts playing colors and sound, zig-zagging around.

Johnny beat his chest, bit his palm, said “William, when I die, will I still look out for you? William?”

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The above is a Drabble, a 100 word story. It was a prompt for the first day of the StoryADay challenge.

I have not been writing much at all, in fact it has been a chore at times, simply because of personal things I’ve been going through. I will attempt to do this: a story a day for the month of May. We’ll see how it all goes.

Any readers of mine know that I will write in any style that suits me. I hope to stretch a bit and get things moving again. Time will tell.

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Chromatic Labyrinth

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Piano-Wallpaper-music-24173621-1280-800Carlo, Prince and Count, imagined his wife in bed with another man. Not just any man, but his friend, the Duke of Andria.  Carlo noticed the Duke’s eyes always found the figure of Donna Maria more than pleasing. He noticed this look too often from the Duke, and he felt that the looks were too often returned . While Donna Maria protested her innocence, Carlo knew, in his heart, that she had already betrayed him…and would continue, this most vile of betrayals.

Unless…

These thoughts assailed Carlo as he pushed himself to compose. Music was his life-he knew that-but it, too, betrayed him.  His madrigals were politely received in court but ultimately…they were misunderstood by most and dismissed, mostly behind his back, but oh, how gossip reaches even the most closed off of ears!

He locked himself in his music room, the only living space he would occupy until he had finished this composition. Receiving food intermittently from his servant,  barely touching any of it, Carlo would not lie down to sleep, only dozing at his piano.  Nothing came out of his demand on the keys, tinkering, chords splitting into discordance instead of magnificence. Four days, and his mind wandered away from the task he set for himself.

Exhausted and light headed, it was on the latter part of the fourth day (although that was later told to him, as time had lost all meaning to him inside his cell) that the visions came. Donna Maria, nude, appeared to him. He stared across the room where she stood, and all his feelings for her rose to a grand level: lust, hatred, love, agony, pain, ecstasy…and rage. Word-paintings came to him. She sprawled, ever  so close, just beyond his reach. He used the keys of his instrument as knives, slashing down, sliding, pounding down until his fingers nails cracked and broke, leaving droplets of red on the ivory.

During all this, Donna Maria cavorted around the piano. She laughed in his face, touching herself, gliding across the room, behind him, leaping over or crawling under his piano. She would reach out to him, then pull away, her long black hair fanning out over the keyboard where he would try to grab a hold, only to have it whisked away. She twirled, and he played, and lost himself in his fury.

Every path he took drew him in deeper. He would sidle into a melody that would change, taking him in a new direction: most of them ending in a frustrating blockage, where he would only be able to retrace what he did, and go another way. And another. And another. Lost, in a place where meter and structure had no more sense, no meaning, and left him more desperate with each stroke of the keys.

Carlo was later told he unbarred the lock on his room and flung himself into the main foyer. Glassy eyed, he stalked past his ever waiting servant. Down the hall he  went, banging open the door to the armory, coming out with a saber in one hand and a gun in the other. The servant tried to talk to his master but was gutted, as witnessed by one of the maids who had come out to the main hall at the noise being made.

Cowering behind one of the marble columns, the maid heard her master rush up the stairs, a door bang open, and then another series of bangs as the gun went off, and screams from her mistress. She recounted that she heard sharp swishing noises, too many to count, her mistress’s cries loud and piercing, then fading, and then nothing.

Someone had summoned the constables, and the Sargent Major, known to all as a stable and strong man, could not report what he witnessed without feeling ill for quite awhile. Yes, he had seen battlefields, but the frenzy of the Count was like unto a butcher’s den. The Countess Donna Maria, and the Duke of Andria…

Carlo, Prince and Count, would stand trial for what he had done, but, in the end, he was freed. Money and ranking took care of that. He exiled himself from the city, trying to leave blood feuds and vendettas behind him. He withdrew more into his music, more into himself, and while he was lost in a complex labyrinth of creative madness, he composed.

And Donna Maria…she twirled around him for a very, very long time.

If I Had…

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If I had everything

I thought I needed

Would I still want?

If the basics were in place

Would there need to be more?

Or, with the needs abated,

Would a new want rear its head,

Taking on a raging, pulsating pull?

I don’t have what I truly need

I really only want what I need

If I had it…them…

Would things finally be enough?

If I hadn’t wished for a certain freedom

That, when it came, left more locks,

Would I still want that freedom?

Yes, yes yes…but not in the way it came.

This is a twisted knot

Of my own doing

If I had

a choice

If I had

 

See Her

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Chasing Rainbow By Judy Underwood

See her

Fun is first nature

Wonderment and exploration

Dancing, twirling, laughing, tripping

See her

She won’t always be this way

Relish in what she delights in

What she marvels at

What she runs to grasp

See her

Keep this image in your heart

Share in it

Join in

Reclaim it yourself

See yourself

Chase a rainbow bubble

 

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Prompt from Bluebell Books

Thursday Flash Fiction Week 28: Innocence and Dream: Please write a poem, a prose, or a short story inspired by the image provided above

I’ve done their prompts before. Hope you enjoy.

Nyctophilia: #defythedark contest

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Well, I’ve been away for over a month. During that time, I’ve started writing a number of things, but all of it was working towards story ideas I’ve had rolling around for a bit. All of them are in different stages…and almost every piece is for a future novel, or novella. Hence, not for Tale Spinning.

My SO brought a Figment contest to my attention that actually intrigued the two of us: the Defy the Dark New Author Contest. I had given up on submitting anything to Figment because of the usual  “heart (like) my story & I’ll like yours” mentality, which rarely ever translated into the merit of the story. Yes, I did that last year with Birdsongs: The Virtuous War. I learned my lesson and stayed clear of that type of “whoring” for votes.

What’s different about Defy the Dark New Author Contest? The likes/hearts don’t mean a thing: there is an actual YA editor (Ms. Saundra Mitchell)  who will read and judge the work on its merits. This is for eventual publication in an anthology by HarperCollins. Combined, the two things got me writing a just under 4,000 word short story entitled Nyctophilia.

FYI: Nyctophilia, as defined by Dictionary.com, is: a love or preference for night, darkness.

My description/”blurb”:

On the coast of the British Isles lies beautiful Bournemouth. At the turn of the 20th Century, it is a quiet, peaceful destination. A retired London Chief Inspector makes his home there with his wife, their house cared for by a local towns girl, Miranda. By day, most agree that the views of Bournemouth are spectacular. By night, the Spectacular views Bournemouth in an unsavory way…an old “friend” of the inspector comes to visit, and he  very much prefers all that the night has to offer.

Please CLICK HERE to take you to my newest story, Nyctophilia. If you with to leave comments, you can do so either at Figment or here on Tale Spinning.

Lisa Vooght entered the same contest with an extremely compelling tale called Rain’s Gonna Come.  Very powerful, a story you will be glad you read.

Thanks one and all for sticking with Tale Spinning. I hope I’m not gone another month before posting something new.

Connect The Dots

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Her little index finger went from point to point, moving along the surface as she went. Eyes wide, laying still, her tongue slightly pushed out as she worked at the image.

“A butterfly!” Amy said, retracing the pattern she saw.

“Um huh,” her mother murmured, smiling as she stroked her daughter’s hair.

Amy continued to explore, finding another pattern, and then another. Shifting positions only when asked to, Amy found images as she went along.

“A star!”

“Pony!”

“Fish.”

“A dragon!”

“Dragon?” her mother asked?

“Yup. Dragon. Big, scary dragon. Roooooaaaaarrrrrrrr!”

Katie laughed as she hugged her Amy. She got a hug back.

Amy went on tracing  what she saw in the dots, naming them at will, giggling at the made up things. The late afternoon sun streamed through the bedroom window, lighting and warming up the bed they were laying on. Amy drifted off to nap time, finger still on one lone spot.

Katie held her daughter, feeling Amy’s breathing change. She was nappish herself, closing her eyes as they nestled together.

Just before she, too, drifted away, Katie smiled, thinking: “Why did I ever hate my freckles?

 

One Lovely Blog Award…Yes, It Is Too

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It was the 2012 Memorial Day Weekend, and I get a pleasant surprise: I have been honored TWICE with the One Lovely Blog Award, as passed on to me by Allan Douglas of Simple Life Prattle and The Write Stuff (and fellow Triberr buddy).

How could he bestow this upon me twice? One is for here,Tale Spinning, the other is for my Non-Fiction blog, BornStoryteller.

The “rules” are simple:

  1. Thank the person who awarded the award (Thank you Allan) and link back to their blogs: Click HERE and HERE
  2. Tell SEVEN things about yourself that no one knows (but two blogs… 14.. but…14? TMI)
  3. Pass on the award to (15) blogs you follow and like/admire/wish they were yours.
    1. I’ll do as many as I can.

So…

Seven Things :

  1. I’ve lived on the East Coast of the USA all my life, but have visited more than half of the states now.
  2. I read SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries, and then the occasional other book. Existentialism, anyone?
  3. I wish the lyrics to John Lennon’s song Imagine were achievable.
  4. People find me unfocused in my field of interest (the arts); I find myself versatile.
  5. I believe in ghosts, but not vampires and werewolves. Especially not shimmery vampires.
  6. I like both cats and dogs; I do NOT like fish, as pets or otherwise.
  7. I have never gone to a demolition derby or a monster truck thingy; I’d like to, at least once.

In no particular order, blogs I pass this along to, and you should give them a look/leave a comment (tell ’em I said Hi):

Woman Wielding Words

The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective

Ghost Cities

My Rivendell

ZenCherry

The View Outside

David Powers King

Cherie Reich-Author

No Wasted Ink

Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World

Daily (W)Rite

Raising Amelie

Sonia Rumzi

A French Yummy Mummy in London

Rock the Kasbah

Leda and the Swan: National Flash Fiction Day

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Man Ray: Leda and the Swan

A swan walks into a bar…

No, not really.

A God walks into a bar…actually, the once King of the Gods…well, Greek Gods…and not King for a pretty long time…

…and it’s not really a bar, per se, but the bar in a disco, The Metamorphoses.

He’s not really Zeus anymore, either,  having given up that name for quite a while.  Too many just don’t believe in him and his anymore.

Zeus took flight and has  lived a long time as Mr. Swan.

So…A Swan does walks into a bar…

Mr. Swan saunters to the Metamorphoses bar and his burps dissolve into the loud music; his gastrointestinal expulsion is showing  his appreciation of a fine meal. He had just come  from the Olympus Diner, where he had:  an appetizer of Spanokopita; a generous helping of Lamb Souvlaki with rice; and he followed all that by two large slices of Baklava, dripping with extra honey (the waitress was enthralled, naturally, without knowing why). His stomach was happy, well sated. But…the diner had no liquor license (he’ll fix that in the morning). Swan wanted to get drunk…and he was looking for a little bit more pleasure.

The dancers were staying alive on the multicolored lit floor, the pulsating music swarming around the enclosed room. He scooped up a double Ouzo the bartender (a lithe blonde he intended to revisit) had set down, snorted a line of coke that was offered to him, and settled in. Swan scoped the place out, dazzled by the gyrating young flesh moving to a beat that stirred him in a number of ways. Sipping his drink, a smile playing around the rim of the glass, Swan found what he was looking for.

His eyes locked on a tableau: she was tall, curvy, long legged and teased out brunette hair. She had stylish (“for this age”, he thought) earrings, was not chewing gum, and best of all…she was alone. Downing his Ouzo and taking the replacement glass that was immediately in front of him, Swan boogied on down the steps of the bar/lounge area, across the dance floor, and up to his prey’s high top.

Chatting her up wasn’t all that hard, music blaring or not. Her name was Leda, she was a Broadway wannabe, and just had a fight with her boyfriend, Ty. She came with her girlfriends to let off some steam, and why was she telling him this and more, but Leda could not stop, nor could she refuse the copious amounts of Ouzo that Swan ordered for her. They talked, she laughed, he flirted, and they took it all to the dance floor.

If you ask anyone who was there at the Metamorphoses that night, no two stories would be the same, except for one thing: that night was magic. Everyone spilled out onto the dance floor, hours upon hours of drinking and drugging and sweating and laughing, taking things to an extreme that had never been experienced before.

And sex. There was a lot of sex that night.

Leda found herself with Swan in a ladies room stall. She wasn’t the only one that evening, but she was his main event.

Mr. Swan walked out in the early hours of the next morning bedraggled but beaming. He kept the music alive in his head and an arm around the blonde bartender, heading back to the Olympus Diner for some eggs, disco fries, ambrosia,  and the still enthralled waitress (her shift was over when she paid for his bill). The three of them had a fun morning.

Leda found Ty sitting in front of her apartment door. He as ten times ten apologetic, taking all the blame and asking her not only to take him back, but to marry him. He was an idiot, he admitted, and…and…and…

Leda said yes later that afternoon, after the two of them got out of bed and got dressed. They went for lunch at the diner (missing Zeus..um…Swan drop off the waitress by minutes) then got in his car and eloped,  driving to New England.

Nine months later, they had twin girls: Poly and Helen. Leda never questioned, Ty never knew, and the both of them loved to love their babies.

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From the UK comes the first ever Flash Fiction Day (National should become International, but that’s for another time).

What is Flash Fiction? Well, you can read about it HERE or HERE or even HERE.

My working definition: It’s a very short piece of work, not normally considered a short story (which usually has word counts under 7,500 words). Flash is basically considered anything from a few words to one thousand (give or take). It cuts out meandering sentences, extra words, and run on sentences, as you, as the writer, are forced to focus on being as concise as you possibly can. Unlike this explanation. 🙂

Most of what I write here on Tale Spinning has been Flash Fiction (without my announcing or championing it). I really discovered what FF is thanks to Lisa Vooght, author of the aptly named blog, Flash Fiction. She’s also the one who let me on that there was a National Flash Fiction Day. There are many others out there, and it’s been a pleasure finding them, bit by bit. Might be a blog post just on other FF blogs to find, but again…that is for another time.

You have 16 more days to read my Swan Rise series before it comes down on June 1st. Click HERE for all the links to the 26 stories. (and no…this story is not part of Swan Rise).

Reflections of Swans (#AtoZChallenge)

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A to Z Reflections Post

From the hosts of the A to Z Challenge:

This is your time to tell us about your A to Z experience.   Share your pleasures, your pains, your setbacks, your gains.   Who did you meet along the way that you found to be especially helpful or inspiring?  Did you have a favorite blog post?   Or a favorite series?   Which blogs did you discover during April that you will be returning to in the future?

             Express your gratitude or vent your frustrations.  If you’d do this again, let us know why.  If you hated it. tell us why.  We want you to tell your A to Z story to the rest of us and tell it in the way that suits you best.  Like the Challenge itself, this Reflection post is your creative outpouring.  Be it prose, verse, song, video, or images, you can express yourself in anyway that you like.

 What I have to admit was my frustration/failure:

My lack of really exploring and commenting on other blogs. I tried, but so many things just prevented me from doing anywhere near the number of visits I intended to do. That, to me, is my own let down.

I do intend to go back and visit some of the bloggers who have visited me, and to explore others, during May. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: late comments and views are better than no comments/no views.

My pleasure:

Just plain out discovering the characters of Swan Rise, and the building itself. This was (as tired as I got of writing/blogging at times during the month),  very satisfying as a writer. The feedback and encouragement was gratifying unto itself, but I found great satisfaction with what I was producing. Can’t always say that.

For all the links to MY A to Z stories, CLICK HERE! I’m very proud of what I produced.

My favorite:I have asked readers if they had a favorite story of the 26: the ones that did answer seemed to gravitate towards Mrs. Beatty. I really liked her; I’m also not sorry I killed her off (so there). She still has more to her story: I only covered a few periods of her life.

Amy, for some reason I haven’t figured out yet,  became my favorite character. She came out of nowhere;  I wrote the B post with no knowledge of her before that, no planning. I know I did not explore her enough (to my satisfaction). Not sure why, and I’m not sure (yet) what more there is to write about Amy. That will happen when I tackle the second draft.

Will I do the AtoZ Challenge again (and why is my pudding barking at me?):

In all honesty, I can’t answer where my head will be in a year (well, eleven months). It’s an amazing, frustrating, sometimes daunting, challenge. I did not write any of my posts months ahead of time. Most were written to order (I scheduled them to post at 12:15 am) the day before they were due to appear. Some were written the day due, sometimes scrambling to produce;  I only wrote ahead a few times, sometimes doing two or three in one day (had to do that the two weekends I went away). I’d just schedule them out. Nothing was written before the event began.

18,00+ words in 26 days. Ouch.

That, to me, is what the challenge was about. So..will I do it again? Ask me next Feb/March.

Impressions of Perfect Fifths

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Marc Chagall

His hands played along the surface of the violin, tracing the patterns worn into the wood. Slight depressions,  imprintings of someone’s fingering, their palm, chin, sweat. Empty of catgut, Avram, the luthier, caressed and stroked the violin that was given unto his care for restoration. He closed his eyes, held the violin to his nose, and breathed in its history.

The drawing of the horsehair bow that had slid along the strings left intermittent grooves in the wood. They showed where a well loved piece was played,  how the violinist drew against the grain of the violin itself. Clumsy or a style, it was all the same to Avram: this was a well loved instrument, that was apparent, and it would become one again.

He noticed the nicks, the dimples in the varnish, the grain of the wood, the stains not readily perceived, but there. There was a very slight crack near the base of the right F-hole, the chinrest needing to be replaced, a refastening of the tailpiece and scroll. Sitting on his wooden stool, Avram kept the violin out of direct sunlight, a strain for his eyes but a blessing for the instrument.

The tuning pegs were worn down, without sheen. Avram could tell that the strings had been replaced, often, their lifespan given to the music: either no longer playing true, losing the desired tone, or snapping in the frenzy of the player.  That did not matter to Avram. He would eventually make a new marriage, adding the G first, then the D, followed by the A and E. He would attach them at the base, up the bridge, along the neck and finally connect them all to the pegbox. All would then be tuned, in harmony, restored.

This though, was still a ways to come. All in due time…

Eventually, time for music to be lifted out and carried, vibrating its musical message to others. Time for this violin to find new hands, a new lover, to be held towards and against the player, to communicate and be in tune once again.

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Author’s Note:

I was given a newspaper article by my SO about Violins of Hope, a project of restored violins that had a history of pain: they came from musicians who “experienced” the horrors of the Holocaust. There was a concert in Charlotte, NC in April 2012. The violins are now back in Israel.

This immediately got my writing gears in motion: I have plotted out titles of chapters, an outline, for what I will be working on next. I plan to get a first draft done of all this while it is still “hot” for me; then, in June, I’ll put this aside and start working on the second draft of the Swan Rise stories.

This was just to whet your whistle. I will NOT be posting any of my Violin stories on Tale Spinning after this: I want it to be marketable for an agent/publisher, if worthy. I WILL be looking for readers along the way, to form a small core group, maybe our own writers group, so if you’re interested, please EMAIL me (please don’t post it here: my email can be located on the right sidebar).

As to Tale Spinning: I’ll be dropping some pieces here and there throughout May, as the story comes to me or I find a fun prompt that inspires. Please check out my backlog of past pieces; there is a lot here, and if you’re new, well…then they’ll be new to you as well.

Remember: comments are always welcome.