Four score and a lesson in compassion

2 Comments

Was I guilty of ageism?  Perhaps.  But when the senior’s euchre tournament bus tour arrived at the lodge on Sunday, I was admittedly dreading the three days that would follow.  I made an egregious error in judgement.

Admittedly, the tour did not begin well for the 42 participants but the fault was not ours.  A slight hiccup in their agenda had caused them to arrive an hour and a half early and we were thoroughly unprepared for the sudden onset of walkers, luggage and upset elders.  We did our best to scramble and be as accommodating as possible.   I made a witty speech welcoming them on behalf of the owners and staff and my words were met with sullen stares and moderate contempt.  It was a bumpy start.

old couple-743330

(image credit)

Once we regained control our momentum increased and we began getting everyone settled into their rooms.  Betty and Rose reached their three stairs and Betty took the lead.  Once she was at the top, Rose began to follow.  Betty reached for the door frame and found nothing but a handful of air.  As I turned to look behind me, Betty, doing her best impression of a tree being felled in the forest, fell straight backwards and took Rose out, using her as a cushion for the fall.  The two ladies I had escorted to their room had just fallen and couldn’t get up.   Thankfully we got them into an upright and relatively stable position and, after many unqualified examinations, we deemed they were medically stable.

The group’s first dinner was an interesting event.  Still unsure of their surroundings, many uttered complaints that hung in the air like cartoon balloons.  There were threats of husbands being called to retrieve them the following morning and the night was punctuated by another woman being hit in the head by a heartily kicked-open kitchen door.  In the span of six hours, we had potentially concussed three women.

But then something changed.  Over the course of the following 60 hours, attitude and understanding rapidly evolved on both sides.  We understood the nature of their initial frustration and they understood the nature of our good will and hospitality.  By the end of their three night stay, I was calling them all by their first name and I was truly sad to see them climb the stairs to get back on the bus.  There were many hugs and talk of seeing them again next year.  I will admit that I was close to tears saying goodbye to these lovely souls.

Perhaps it was the sideways glances I got from Rose that reminded me so much of my mom.  Maybe it was that bond of parenthood I have been missing since my mom and dad passed.  Whatever the reason, I will be ready and willing to welcome that next bus tour with open arms and use this enlightening experience as a lesson for the future.

When passion supersedes thinking

11 Comments

Sometimes I think too much.  I beat an idea to death because I am too stubborn to let the words flow they way they want to flow from my brain.  When that happens, the passion I have for those words seems to die a slow death and is replaced by the perfunctory task of trying to string a simple sentence together.

A few nights ago I watched the movie “Chef” with Jon Favreau.  Although his career path in the movie is obviously not a writer, his struggle to hold onto his passion becomes interrupted and his job becomes a menial task.  He lets too many outside influences tarnish the joy he gets from, not just cooking food but, creating food.

I took a lot of wisdom from that movie, so much so that I watched it a second time.  The underlying theme really struck the right chord in the orchestra of my creativity.  I watched his character peel back the unwanted opinions that had been constricting his imagination and he went right back to the basics, to the thing he fell in love with, and he rekindled his passion for food.

creative writing

(image credit)

I’m going to wipe my writing counter clean and start from scratch.  I’m going to build the ingredients of my stories and get back to that place where my love for words began.  I’m going to let that passion speak for itself and not pound it into submission.  I am simply going to write.

 

 

 

 

Just one nice, looonnnngggg sniff

2 Comments

I had just about given up on harnessing anything creative today when my dog sat on the floor next to me and rested her face on the window sill.  Almost motionless, she stared intently as a chipmunk ran back and forth across the lawn, each time carrying another acorn to its hiding spot.  Callaway didn’t utter even the slightest whine as she watched the little furry creature passing by about 50 times.

chippy

Every so often the chippie would pause for a rest, choosing to stop about 10 feet from my living room window.  This intrigued Callaway even more.  Pushing her nose up to the screen, she took deep breaths with the hope of getting just a tiny hint of Eau de Chippie.

I knew the writer in me had begun to take over for the pet owner when I realized her behavior reminded me of Hannibal Lecter displaying his highly acute sense of smell to Agent Starling from behind his glass partition.  There’s hope yet for finishing my novel….I just need to pay more attention to my dog!

 

 

Innocence (fiction)

16 Comments

The curtains had already parted and the blackened room was silent.  There was no Maestro leading an orchestra to fill the deafening reticence.  He was pushed forward onto the stage and he sat in the still, invisible air, straining to hear any signs of movement or shallow, clandestine breathing.  The scraping sound of the rusting pulley system startled him as the curtains were drawn closed behind him.

 Although he was not bound to his chair, he was unable to move.  The bright stage lights abruptly came to life and blinded him, etching his likeness into the velvet material behind him.  He could not see the crowd that sat only yards away from him but he could feel them.  He could feel their hatred and the anger in the myriad pairs of eyes burning into every fiber of his being.  

The energy in the theater rose to a climax and the chanting of the crowd became almost ritualistic.  The three-dimensional quality of his body seemed to dissolve under the pressure of their angst.  His tortured screams filled the hallowed space.  They came to reap what he had taken from them.  They wanted their souls back.  One by one he felt the energies being ripped from his body and his cries slowly muted into whispers.  His physical body became lifeless and transparent and his screaming could no longer be heard.

His own soul had been the last to leave his body.  His mouth is forever open, frozen in a scream of repentance and regret.

7, January 1655

~~

“Do you believe any of that, Marcus?”   Danielle continued to read the information in the tour brochure.

The tickets to the historical theater are sold for $10.00 each.  Those who really want to impress their friends say they can still see his shadow on the curtain but those who come looking for their lost soul can still hear him screaming, fighting to get back the essence of the souls he had taken.

Marcus shrugged and didn’t know what else to say.  “Maybe Pope Innocent X wasn’t so innocent after all.”  He subconsciously rubbed his fingers on his ears to silence the sound of the more than century-old screams.

~~

gg-wkbadge-e1411321572196

Written for the 2nd challenge at Grammar Ghoul Press.  I love that this new challenge is greasing my writing wheels!  The challenge was to write a story based on the above picture and the following word prompt:

Reap (verb):
Receive (something, especially something beneficial) as a consequence of one’s own or another’s actions.

U.F.O. = Unexpected Flying Ordure

5 Comments

During the seven years that I have been in a relationship with my dog, she has been nothing but loving, giving and very intuitive of my desire to not scoop the poop.  I have almost three acres of land and she has been courteous enough to befoul the outskirts of my property and not defecate on the portion of greenery that I mow on a relatively frequent basis.

Today, I cleared the lawn of the remnants of chewed branches and fired up the mower for what may be the last mow of the season.  I nonchalantly pushed the machine in the usual fashion, adhering to my own rules of the direction of lines in my lawn maintenance, and it happened.  The shit literally hit the fan (or the mower blades, close enough).

I hadn’t thought to look for any brown bombs on the lawn because Callaway is too gracious and too private to leave her feces in plain sight.  I silently cursed as the wafting smell of dog crap reached my nostrils and did everything in my power not to gag.  I glanced over at the deck and Callaway was watching with a deep concern for my well-being.   There was no sense of embarrassment coming from her, so I knew the poop in question had not been produced by her.   We both glanced in the direction of the neighbor’s house and knew that the black lab from next door had left his calling card.

get off my lawn

 (image credit: quickmeme.com)

 Perhaps we should have had a few more scheduled play dates so Callaway could train Casey in the art of excrement.  At least I will be more prepared the next time I have to cut the grass and scan the lawn with a thermal imaging camera.  You can’t be too careful these days and we all know – shit happens.

Of portents and hints, and frogs behind Chintz

2 Comments

I should have expected something strange to happen after finally getting my mind back into the creepy place where it likes to linger when I write fiction.  I crossed back into that dark place in this blog post and felt a sense of relief knowing that I could still find refuge in the shady corners of my brain.  Perhaps that energy drew the unexpected visitor to my window.

The overcast sky left the early evening completely devoid of light.  The dense bushes and large overhanging trees did everything in their power to make sure no illumination was cast on my little house in the woods.  From my nest on the couch, a slight movement diverted my attention from the television.  In the ambient light given off by the TV, three discernible fingers were visible between the window frame and the cloth blind.

Although startled by the movement, I quickly ascertained, by the size of those little digits, that I would not find myself in harm’s way.  I lifted the blind to get a better look at my late night visitor.  This little tree frog spent several minutes jockeying for a higher vantage point on my window.  I don’t think he was too appreciative of my flash blinding him every few seconds and the sudden burst of light seemed to make him lose his grip.  He slid down to the bottom of the window and hung there for a while.  I’m not sure which of us lost interest first but he left and I immediately Googled “frog on a window”.

My little visitor is a symbol of transition, transformation and cleansing.  I had already begun to formulate a plan in regards to making myself a writing schedule and changing some things in my life.  Cutting out the mindless hours I spend in front of a TV would be a great start.  Getting back to my healthier way of eating will be a close second.

It’s time to feel better and put my brain energy to good use creating ideas instead of digesting other’s ideas.  Thank you little froggy.  Next time, pull up a chair and stay a while!

IMG_1490[1]