An Empty Hole


An Empty Hole

By Nandy Ekle


There’s a hole in my life. It’s bigger and emptier than the Grand Canyon ad it’s frozen all the way to my soul.

A very important presence left, and not only is my soul in havoc, but it also left everything around me in shambles. I look around the room and wonder what happened between us.

There’s a hole in the roof of this room and the rain continues to fall. The blowing wind keeps my world stirred up with just enough wreckage to keep things from settling back in order. And the wind is icy cold. I reach for a piece of paper as it passes me and my hand burns in this arctic cyclone

My soul and this dark empty room are not the only things feeling the cold rain. A parade of people are paralyzed in mid action. In one corner I see two young girls, the best of friends, on their way to the mountains for a weekend of adventure and healing. I see a lonely young woman whose entire life exists on the computer. I see an insecure girl waiting for her lover to come to her as he does every Friday—an artist trying to work through a broken heart and looking for just one friend—a confused woman waking up in an unknown place with no memory of how she got there—a frustrated and bored mother looking for adventure in the monotony of her life—the conflicted bridesmaid who’s lover is the groom—and probably the saddest face I see is the teenage girl who desperately wants independence from her twisted family.

But they are all as frozen as the air around me.

The source of all this icy chaos is my missing muse. She comes now and then, dropping a small seed in my head without providing the water or sunlight needed to make it germinate and grow. Sometimes the seeds pop up and then die, sometimes they never even take a breath.

I picture these characters she had me create, how they are stuck in turmoil and pain, and I want to help them. I want to fulfill their dreams and give them everything they want. But my hands are as worthless as the rain that continues to fall.

Oh, I’ve tried everything to get her back. I’ve begged and pleaded, cried and coaxed. I’ve spent money for lectures, books, pictures, and music hoping she hides there. I’ve re-read the words leading up to her departure thinking she may be in a corner just waiting for me to find her and pick the stories back up. I’ve talked with others whose muses are steady and helpful. I’ve even pretended she was still whispering to me, but the words are as empty as my heart feels.

So, what to do. The masters say to keep putting the words on the paper and she will eventually come back. They say exercise keeps the muscles strong. And they say to take matters into my own hand and give up the muse.

All I know for sure is the hole in this roof needs to be patched and the furnace needs to be turned on.

Desperately waiting for a post card from my muse.





Goblins, Ghosts, and Ghouls

Outtakes 172

Goblins, Ghosts, and Ghouls

By Cait Collins


I love kid holidays. Halloween is probably the best holiday for our young ones. Last Saturday night, our congregation held our annual Fall Festival. There were about 300 children participating in our Trunk-or-Treat event. I saw bumble bees, witches, scarecrows, Transformers, Captain America, Batman, Elsa and Anna, Olaf, a fairy princess, and a little zebra. I even met Velma from the Scooby Doo cartoon series. She reminded me a bit of Beezus from Beverly Cleary’s Beezus and Ramona series. Then there were the ghouls and zombies.

Seeing the array of costumes, I began to wonder what drew the child to their costumes .and to the characters. Did the glittery ice-blue dress make a little girl want to dress like Elsa from Frozen? Did the dress and crown make her stand taller, assume a regal air, and create an innocent beauty? Did the Batman costume make a young man feel like a hero? And did Velma finally become comfortable with her knowledge. Did the costume choice reflect a personality or a desire to be more like the alter-ego?

What if I could have sat down with just one child and asked questions in order to get my answers? What kind of story would I write about the child and his character? Would it be a happy tale or would my information reveal a frightened lonely child? If there were only time to visit and learn more about each child, I could have outlined and written 300 children’s stories.