Archibald Blood picked through his treasure on the Isle of the Crimson Skull and mulled over his prospects. Though accustomed to the crow’s nest on his ship, the nest he now found himself in filled him with a different type of thrill. He peered over the edge, contemplated the blessed ocean, and wondered if he could survive a fall and make it to his ship – or at least out of this blasted nest. The last thing he wanted was to end his life of skulduggery, deceit, and adventure as a pet for giant eaglets.
The treasure had led him here. After the harrowing climb, he’d collapsed into the nest, merely thankful to be alive and not to have been spotted by the bloody beast. However, gratitude soon gave way to despair when the mother bird returned. She had dropped his rope over the edge. Then after nudging him against one of her eggs, she’d trilled happily and flown away.
The giant eagle, by lining her nest with his booty, had caught her real quarry – a plaything for her children. But pirates didn’t play easy. He’d be damned if he’d end his days as nanny to a bunch of squalling brats.
Next to him, several eggs – almost as big as himself – quivered. The irony didn’t escape him as he picked up the biggest diamond in the world and prepared to crack them. Then he’d wait for the mother’s return.
Also, I’ve created an Audioboo account for my poems and short fiction. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I drive anyway, so I’ve considered recording my stories for quite some time. Though I was hesitant for two reasons: I hate my voice, and I didn’t own any recording equipment. While reason number one’s still valid, Audioboo and Android apps (HiFiCorder) made the second one unimportant. So I decided to give it a go. My Audio version of ‘The Tank‘can be found at my Audioboo account.
On a more personal note, I’ve been working on more stories and poems. I’ve decided to renew editing my rough draft novel, The Afterlife and Times of William Shakespeare. Until recently, I was undecided if I should continue, but my son (Monsterbat) helped me make up my mind. He asked me to read it as a bedtime story. When I reminded him that I hadn’t finished editing, he insisted that he’d read it himself. He said, “I love that story!” So, instead of reading, I summarized the story before he went to sleep. With motivation like that, how could I possibly not finish it now?
Have a wonderful day.
*If anyone else is interested in participating, all the information can be found on the 52/250 site.
Sparkle hovered outside the window to the old house, ear pressed against the pane of glass.
“I’m telling you, Martha, I’m getting rid of that hive first thing tomorrow. Henderson’s has some pesticide that’ll do the job. I’m sick of dealing with the damn fairies.”
His wife hovered over the stove stirring some bubbling liquid with a wooden spoon. Sparkle scowled, both at the conversation and the spoon. Luckily, it didn’t seem inhabited.
“Do you have to kill them, Roy? Maybe it’s just they’re attracted to the wood from the door you replaced. You could maybe buy a different style or something and they might leave on their own.”
“Why should I spend good money when there’s plenty of fresh wood nearby? No, hon, you got a kind heart, but that’s just not sensible.”
“I just don’t want the poor little things to suffer,” said the farmer’s wife.
“Heck, you wouldn’t care if you’d been bit by the little buggers,” said the farmer, “But don’t worry – I’m sure it’s painless.” He kissed his wife on the cheek. “No more stew for me, Martha. Just going to finish up some things in the basement and go to bed. Early day fumigating tomorrow.”
His wife smiled, and the farmer left the room.
Sparkle returned to the barn.
“We must act quickly, your Highness,” said the fairy. “The humans plan to annihilate our home tomorrow.”
The fairy Queen pondered this, tiny chin resting in the cup of her hand as she frowned in concentration. Her small throne sparkled and shone within the center of the hornet-like hive. “We’d assumed the humans would think we lived in the nearby trees. This makes matters more serious indeed if they’ve grown impervious to our camoflauge spells.”
“But what of the poison? We may flee, but surely if he sprays that in here…” Sparkle gestured to the wooden rafters, then the barn in general.
The Queen’s face softened. “Not to worry, my lovely minion. Tonight we shall make our move, and she will be safe. We may even manage to save our own home.”
Sparkle relaxed, though she wasn’t sure how they could save the hive itself. The magic of the hive wasn’t powerful enough to protect it, and the entire fairy court combined couldn’t move it by themselves. Nevertheless, she awaited her orders. Once given, Sparkle left to complete her mission.
The fairy Queen was known throughout the woods for her cleverness. Surely she would save them all.
Sparkle returned later with the news that the humans had gone to bed. The fairies posted a watch, and they got to work. From the topmost rafters they flew down to the small storage closet where the farmer kept his chemicals. Combining their efforts, they pulled covers off cans of paint remover. Soon paint brushes hovered, dipped, and flew to the farm’s newly replaced door.
They worked by the light of the full moon.
The fairies concentrated their combined magical effort on moving the brushes back and forth over the door’s newly painted surface. When one side was completed covered, they sprayed the hose across its surface. Then rags removed any remaining red paint.
When the door had been completely wiped clean of every ounce of paint, the wood began to shimmer and shift form. Soon, the grains formed into the image of a young girl who gained depth as she stepped out of the wooden boards. She held her nose.
“Thanks, guys,” she said, stepping outside the barn and removing her hand to breathe deeply of the night air. “But did you have to use something with so many fumes? It’s almost as bad as the paint.”
The fairy Queen laughed and said, “Almost, except that it isn’t trapping you. You’re free now, so stop complaining!” The other fairies tittered their agreement.
The dryad looked to the forest. “Do you think my sisters might welcome me when their homes are already full?”
“Perhaps,” answered the Queen. “But now that you are free, we have a more pressing matter. The farmer that imprisoned you plans to destroy our home as well. Will you help?”
“Of course!” answered the dryad. “But what can I do? I’d offer you shelter – except I’m homeless now.”
The Queen nodded. “I know, but I think I know something that will help us both.” She explained her plan to the dryad, whose face lit up. Their combined magic just might be enough.
The next morning found the farmer standing near a suspicious red puddle in front of his new door, freshly stripped of paint. He scratched his head, frowning and muttering to himself. “What the…? Damn fairies. Malicious little creatures…” He squinted at the rafters, then climbed the ladder to the second level to check out the hive.
It was gone.
Well, whatever happened, at least it saved him the cost of a can of Fairy-be-gone.
The dryad knelt before the fairy Queen in the newly relocated hive.
“I accept your fealty, my loyal new subject. The services you’ve rendered this hive have been invaluable. Rise, Chloe. I dub thee ‘fairy-kind.’”
The dryad rose and was instantly surrounded by her new sisters. She might not have had the wings, but she fit into the small hive perfectly.
“What will your dryad sisters think?” asked Sparkle.
Chloe smiled, “They’ll think I found the perfect home. Besides, I can always visit. We’re not that far.”
Chloe waved to her dryad sisters through the farmer’s attic window, and the trees waved in return.
-of Diana’s loveliness caught within crystal waters
filled with a wisp of cloud
whose delicate lining fell to earth,
its flakes gathered and carefully stored beneath
the smooth unbroken surface
like a dream
thoughts of love
of polished simplicity
containing shining chaos
my thumb traces
its black capped tip
its coolness in my palm
the lovely chime of silver upon glass
as my ring
across its surface
- A kind gesture made solid
and held within
- my ink stained fingers.
*I wrote this last week during the Writers’ Workshop and drew upon lessons from my poetry class. This was my first attempt at using enjambment to create tension. Unfortunately, WordPress didn’t like it, so I was forced to put dashes into the poem when I wanted to leave spaces at the beginning of a line (except for the 1st 2 lines which was intentional).
I don’t usually use a lot of similes in my poems, but these phrases kept echoing in my head so I went ahead and put them in. It’s a little more flowery than I usually write, but I like it.
My husband and son went to gem mining while I was in class, and they brought back a little bottle of silver flakes for me. I used this ‘Abiding Image’ as the inspiration for my poem. Feedback is encouraged and welcome. Thank you for your time!
I’m honored to say that the theme for week #10, Union of Opposites, was actually one of my suggestions for the 52|250 challenge. My story, ‘Opposites Attract‘,was inspired by personal experience and appears on the site under the name Catherine Russell. Enjoy!
Also, over the course of the next week (or two) I plan to post some of the poems, writing prompts (both text and photo) and other things I’ve accumulated from my recent week at Yellow Springs for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop. In the meantime, please check out my story, Opposites Attract, and don’t forget that I beg for welcome feedback.
Have a wonderful day.
*If anyone else is interested in participating, all the information can be found on the 52/250 site.
*(above) Ann Hagedorn teaching the Creative Non Fiction class
My final class on my final day of the Workshop ended at lunchtime yesterday, and I’ve found myself asking over and over again what I’ve brought home from my experience this past week.
Quite literally, I’ve brought home a hell of a lot of books. Three poetry books by our poetry instructor, Cathy Smith Bowers, as well as the poetry dictionary by John Drury. I was tempted to bring home many others, but since my To Be Read pile(of both paper and electronic books) is already quite steep, I’m afraid adding much more will cause it to topple and kill me in my sleep. So I resigned myself to the poetry books, not only for pleasure, but I’m sure they’ll be an invaluable resource for my writing projects – both prose and poetry.
Aside from physical things, I’ve brought back a renewed commitment to the craft as well as a lot of questions. The questions are things I’ve been asking myself for awhile, but I think my time at Antioch has given me tools to find the answers. What do I want to do with the previous rough draft novels I’ve written? Are they worth revising or should I just look at them as experience and move on? Where do I see myself with my writing 5 years from now? In 10 years? I still don’t have the answers, but I’m much closer to finding them than I was before.
The classroom setting was invigorating, and I enjoyed being around creative, literary people, but there were lots of things that I didn’t expect as well. I was pleasantly surprised that the Creative Non Fiction taught techniques that were equally useful for Fiction and Poetry. In fact, all the classes tied into each other, overlapping and stressing the same points again and again in different ways. The theme throughout the entire workshop seemed to be free flowing creativity, without worrying about technique or craft, that you later sculpt into a work of art.
*(above) Cathy Smith Bowers teaching The Craft of Poetry class
I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people. My instructors were wonderful. My poetry instructor signed ‘A Book of Minutes‘ for me – my new favorite poetry book. I sat next to a very nice lady and exchanged emails with her. Hopefully we’ll stay in contact. The only thing I was a bit disappointed in was (I know it sounds corny)… I didn’t really bond with any other writers. That probably has more to do with me than anything else. I spent tons of time writing though – which was absolutely wonderful.
I’ve also gotten some very exciting news over the past couple days. I’m fairly bursting to tell it to the world, but since I’m not sure if I should (yet) I’m going to wait until all my i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing, submitting, dreaming.
Sheila and Ralph held hands as they exited the hospital through doors that opened unbidden before them. The glaring sun forced them to look down at the cold, hard concrete of the sidewalk. From the hospital their steps led them through town and finally to the shore of a deep blue lake. They stood and watched the water.
Pulling nervously on the beads of her necklace, she thought once again of that moment, the exact moment that her world changed forever. Ralph had stared straight ahead – during the doctor’s prepared speech, during the whole walk home. He had kept his free hand concealed within the folds of his sweater.
“What are you going to do now?” she asked. Her eyes shone with barely contained tears.
Ralph rubbed the pebble inside the huge, loose pocket of his cardigan. An almost imperceptible droop of his shoulders betrayed the mountain of pain he carried upon them. “What can I do?” he said at last. “We’ve known this was coming for awhile. My affairs are in order.” He smiled and said, “In the end…”
Bitterness burst through the dam of her defenses, and she left the phrase unfinished as long streams christened her face. Sheila turned away, sobbing.
Several minutes passed.
Eventually she took his other hand, forcing him to release the talisman he’d worried smooth with his touch. “But,” she added, “We have today.” Her eyes rose once more to the lake – the worn landscape of their shared childhood – and together they gazed upon the place they would both finally find peace.
*This is an essay I wrote for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop this week. We were given a prompt as an exercise, and throughout the week our homework was to craft it into a completed scene. Also, our instructor gave us, among other things, a litmus test to apply to our stories. Namely that if someone were to only read the first and last paragraph of the story, would they be able to figure out what happened in the story. What do you think?
I’m not accustomed to writing something this sentimental. It feels overly syrupy to me, but then again this is quite a departure from my usual fare. It contains no vampires, Greek gods, Shakespearean characters, nor a single zombie unicorn. As always, I beg for welcome feedback.