POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE
By Nandy Ekle
Andrea felt the pinprick on the pad of her heel. The first thing that crossed her mind was the memory of the the empty glass falling out of her hand as she walked from the living room couch to the kitchen. It had hit the floor with a loud explosion, invisible splinters of glass raining across the room. She tried to sweep it all up, but the sudden sting in her heel made her wonder if she had missed a piece.
The second thought she had was that her heel—actually her whole foot had begun to burn as if it were on fire. Sweat beaded on her forehead and the feeling of flames raced up her leg, into her hip, and crossed to the other leg at the exact moment it also flew up her chest, arms, neck, face, and covered her scalp. Her jaw clenched painfully for a couple of minutes, then absolute numbness. Her legs fell out from under her and she fell to the floor.
The last thought she had before paralysis closed her eyes was that she was utterly alone. Tom was at work, the kids were in school, even the dog was at the vet. And she could not move any part of her body to get to the phone.
An undetermined amount of time later, Andrea became aware of being in a dark room. She couldn’t see anything, could just barely breath. No part of her body would obey her instruction to move. She felt something heavy and sticky covering her face. Her arms were definitely at her sides, but the sticky substance was wrapped tightly around her body. Somewhere close by she heard a strange clicking sound, then felt another pinprick in the top of her head going deep into her brain. She tried to scream as what felt like an arrow tipped with fire pierced through her skull and all the way to her spinal cord. No sound would come from her throat. The clicking sounds became more like the sounds of liquid being sucked through a straw. The pain turned into the sensation of floating up through a narrow tube up to another world.
All in all, the entire process only took about thirty minutes. When it was over, Andrea was an empty husk wrapped like a mummy and thrown against the wall. Nia had emptied Andrea’s carcass of all its essence. She threw the empty bag of bones against the wall, slunk back to the dark corners of the secret room, and locked the door. Andrea had been strong with a lot of essence that would keep Nia’s hunger away for a long time. And now she needed rest.
She curled her legs under her body and slept.
Somewhere Only We Know
by Adam Huddleston
Several years ago, a group called Keane released a song entitled “Somewhere Only We Know”. The lyrics, while able to be interpreted many different ways, struck a chord with me (no pun intended). Being a writer, I felt that the song lent itself to a story, possibly in the fantasy genre. This is my attempt at such a story.
Each week, I am going to try to release a bit more of the tale. We’ll see how it goes. Enjoy!
Robert savored the cool dampness of the earth under his body. He sat with his arms stretched behind him, hands gently clinching the rich grass covering the hillside. A fragrant breeze played with the sparse tufts of grey hair that still clung to his scalp.
The wind’s scent was familiar; comforting. For some reason it reminded him of breakfast. This got him thinking about Ellen. No one could make coffee like his sweet Ellen.
“You want another cup of coffee?”
Robert blinked. He was sitting in his usual chair at the tiny kitchen table. A plate of half-finished scrambled eggs and toast stared up at him. The only light came from an eastern-facing window.
His wife repeated, “Another cup of coffee, hon?”
Now I Know
By Cait Collins
Sometimes I really love the way my characters reveal themselves, but waking from a sound sleep at 3 a.m. is not at the top of my list. However I must say I like what Adam Sinclair told me. You see I was having problems with Adam’s storyline. He’s the third friend in my current work Three x Three.
Adam seems to resent his best friends. The question is why. He’s a trust fund baby with more financial security than his successful friends Sean Hawthorne/aka Creed Whitley and Tyler Crawford. Although both men have achieved financial stability from their chosen professions, they had something Sinclair wants – family. Money doesn’t guarantee loving parents, and in Adam’s case family meant dealing with a Mom and Dad more interested in their country club friends than in raising their children. In fact, the senior Sinclair put strings on the inheritance. If Sean didn’t pass his CPA exams, his share of the death proceeds would be divided between his brother and sister. So Adam follows the letter of the will. He is miserable. He wants to replace Sean/Creed in the Whitley household just so he can bask in the warmth of parental love.
Adam also resents his friends’ enjoyment of their chosen professions. Adam had his own dreams; plans he had to put aside to ensure his inheritance. And now he lives a secret life. But how far will he go to get what he wants? Would he arrange his friend’s disappearance to assume a position in Sean’s family? Would he murder Tyler’s girlfriend so that Tyler would know the misery of being alone.
Those are the questions Sean and Tyler must answer.
GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!
It’s the middle of the night. Pitch black. The cricket’s chirping fiddle serenade has ceased and the man on the moon has shut his eyes in sleep. After what feels like the deepest sleep you have ever experienced, you sit straight up in the bed with the greatest story idea—ever. Frantically you try to remember the smallest details. Your mind races back to the beginning of the dream to piece together the plot line. Sleep fights the adrenaline as your eyes begin to close. In a haze you convince yourself that you will remember it in the morning.
As the alarm startles you awake and your eyes open and begin to focus, horror sets in because you can’t recall the greatest story idea—ever!
You didn’t write it down.
Keep a notebook or writing pad by your bedside and make notes when the thoughts happen or they will be lost forever.
Monday Writing Quote
“Anyone moderately familiar with the rigours of composition will not need to be told the story in detail; how he wrote and it seemed good; read and it seemed vile; corrected and tore up; cut out; put in; was in ecstasy; in despair; had his good nights and bad mornings; snatched at ideas and lost them; saw his book plain before him and it vanished; acted people’s parts as he ate; mouthed them as he walked; now cried; now laughed; vacillated between this style and that; now preferred the heroic and pompous; next the plain and simple; now the vales of Tempe; then the fields of Kent or Cornwall; and could not decide whether he was the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world.”
― Virginia Woolf, Orlando
The Saturday Morning Blogger – Travel in the 21st Century
Having recently traveled to Maine to visit family, I reflected on the perils of modern travel. As a young man fresh out of college, I was thrilled with the first time I flew out of town on a business trip. The experience of boarding an airplane and being where I was going in such a short time was a marvel to me. That has changed over the years.
Part of the reason for the change has been my outlook on the “cattle car” mentality of the airlines and part of the reason is my own joy at seeing the scenery and taking the time to stop for some of the sites along the way.
I recently read a book that was not particularly well-written, but it was a story with an interesting premise. A huge solar flare, aimed directly at Earth, so completely disrupted electronics that the world was knocked back 150 years in terms of usable technology. Telephones, television, even cars and airplanes were unusable because of the technology that made them run. People fled from the cities, which were overrun by street gangs operating in an environment where they could operate without fear of law enforcement keeping them at bay. People found that they had to farm the land in order to have food to eat. Families began talking to each other again instead of worshiping their PDAs.
The book questioned whether our advanced technology had actually made our society better or worse. It is certainly a question worth pondering.
After having flights cancelled on both out-bound and return legs of our trip; and having luggage lost, pilfered and destroyed by baggage handlers and/or TSA thieves, driving looks like a far better method of getting from here to there. This all happened on an airline we expected better things from. Instead we saw very little in the way of “customer service” and a lot in the way of callous disregard for the people who had paid money and put their lives into the hands of a transportation company. I am grateful to say that every time they picked us up off the ground, they did manage to put us back on the ground safely. It wasn’t always a smooth landing, but at least the airplane didn’t disintegrate into a flaming mass.
What else should we expect from public transportation? Right?
by Adam Huddleston
Last week I mentioned the book I’m currently reading. This week, I wanted to share with you what television shows I’m watching.
The main programs that my wife and I enjoy are “Better Call Saul” (which just ended their third season), “Fargo” (which is about to finish their third season), “The Walking Dead”, “The Next Food Network Star”, and on Netflix, “The Office”.
Literarily speaking, “Fargo” is probably the best written show of the bunch. The dialogue is fantastic, the plot twists and turns keep you on the proverbial edge of your seat, and the overall story telling is simply wonderful. “The Office” contains some of the funniest writing and loveable characters on television. I highly recommend both programs.
What are you watching?
Make No Mistake
By Cait Collins
I’m helping train a new employee for my team. Normally we start with the basics of the computer programs and applications, teach them about products, and pray they understand basic grammar so that they can create a decent business letter. Considering some of the notes and emails we get, I’d swear kids are not taught English. But I digress.
I had a thought regarding the training…why not train from the end result back to the beginning. Sounds a little disjointed, but training from a quality control point of view makes sense. Start with the completed letter and the OneNote documentation package. Step one is read the request and determine what the client is asking. It’s not always as easy as it sounds because the request may be hand written and barely legible or the request rambles. Once you determine the need, start pulling documents that verify the points of the response. KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly).
As I work with the new guy, I’m impressed by his questions. And he takes notes. While this approach may appear backward, but by seeing the mistakes others make, maybe, just maybe, he’ll take the steps to avoid them.
I hear people say “I’ve always thought about writing a book.” Okay, have at it, but don’t start at the beginning of your story. Start by being the editor and analyzing a successful author’s latest novel or story. How did he start the story? Did he provide enough back-story to grab your interest and place you in the action? Or did he begin with the day that was different? Are the characters believable? Is it over researched and over thought? Were you into the action or thumbing through the pages to get to the end? Were there typos and grammar errors? Was there good flow from scene one to the end?
Reviewing another person’s work could give you insight into the pitfalls a successful writer faces and help you avoid making the same mistakes. And, it might make writing and self-editing less frustrating.
Monday Writing Quote
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.
― Brian Clark