writing

A short fable about a pebbleĀ 

once upon a time there was a flat little pebble sitting by the seashore, all by himself. He was very envious of the seashells that got picked up by the beach goers. They oohed and ahhed over how pretty the seashells were and the people took them home. Their happiness over the shells’ beauty made himĀ envious and sad, for he was but a flat rock.

One day, a bunch of people started picking up all the flat pebbles. The pebble was very happy because finally he made someone happy. Finally, someone wanted him. The people began throwing the flat pebbles into the sea, skipping them along the water and they all sank to the bottom of the sea.

The pebble then spent ten thousand years waiting for the tide to push him back onto the beach.

Moral of the story: shut up and enjoy the view.
(Hubby told me to tell him a bedtime story. This is what I came up with)

Edit – Thanks to Chris Lindsay for the suggestion on changing “jealousy” to “envious”. Check out his blog for a collection of beautiful essays and short stories.

https://christopherjohnlindsay.wordpress.com/

Advertisements

Acres

My memories are woven through the blades of grass; they are strung like garland through the trees; they are planted firmly in the ground with each tree trunk; in the depths of the earth where the flowers were taking root, preparing to bloom yet again, they, too, rise as the flower rises, meeting the heavens with upturned faces.

My memories are in the house that no longer stands. The lamps that hung from the ceiling, dimmed bulbs behind frosted glass. The carpet, thick between my toes. The chesterfield, long enough to stretch with my child’s body and arms outreached, trying to touch the other end. The stockings that hung by the woodstove, filled with fruit for me to relish. Christmas lights are faded, out of focus, as we played games while the adults talked. The snow fell outside, while the coyotes hunted rabbits, each of us oblivious to the other.

Where do these memories go when the mind is no longer alive. When the body has ceased to exist, what happens to the conscious. My memories of my childhood are dear sweet friends, the knick knacks of my heart. It seems a shame to not will them to someone. I feel like I should wrap them up and gift them to my children, and their children after them. To keep them, my memories, alive. And, me. And, by extension, the child I was. The hope that came with Her. All she could’ve been, as she played games, and read stories late into the morning, and ran around chasing fairies in the yard, long after the sun has gone down.

What happens to the memories that are tied so closely to the land? That even as the land changes, the memories remain the same and become stronger with each passing day. The memories and the land, so intertwined that they course through the veins. The blood that is, I swear, painted with the same colour as the earth of the island.

The earth is vibrant with the memories of my life. So vibrant that I can feel it humming deep inside me. She is beautiful.

642 Things To Write About #1

What Can Happen In A Second.

*

Five years ago, Lily’s life changed in ways she could never have imagined.
Her son, Jaden, was four years old when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and, two months later, he passed away in the arms of her and her husband, Jacob. They didn’t have time to process the diagnosis, never mind his death. Jaden’s absence became more and more heavy on their hearts and his room, untouched two years later, marked the grave they refused to purchase. It marked the death they couldn’t acknowledge yet sat in every room they existed in, dancing in their peripheral vision.

On the third anniversary of Jaden’s death both Lily and Jacob took the day off from work but didn’t tell each other they’d done so. They each spent the day in solitary meditation. Lily had gone to Jaden’s favourite beach and Jacob had walked through Jaden’s favourite playground. Jacob felt the eyes of each parent staring at him, silently telling him to keep his infectious death away from their children. His heart heavy with pain and sorrow, he got back into his car and drove to a pub close to his old apartment and drank in the corner of the bar, where it was dimly lit and no one, but the waitress, could see his tears.
Lily, back from the beach, her face stained with tears and her feet wet from the ocean, turned her cell phone back on. She had 27 missed calls on her phone, all from the Queen’s County Medical Hospital. Her husband had been in a car accident and could she please come quickly.

When Lily arrived at the hospital she was out of breath. She’d been yelling the whole way to the hospital, “Not this day, not this day, not this day…” It had become a mantra, to keep her remaining family intact, to try and cheat Death from taking more of her heart away. After Jaden died she was sure Death had taken the whole thing. That her chest was nothing but an empty cavity.

The doctor took her to her husband’s room and pushed papers into her throbbing chest, asking her to sign it for organ donation. The nurses were saying her name but all she could see was her husband, tubes coming from his mouth, blood all over his swollen face and chest.

Lily could hear nothing but a roaring noise in her ears. She was sure this was Death, coming for her husband. Though she couldn’t see Him, she felt Him in the room with her. It was a dance she knew too well. She heard the doctor’s voice speaking to her, explaining the accident, as he knew it to have been, but she comprehended little. All she knew was that her life had ended, this very same day, three years ago. How she had managed to carry on, how either of them had managed to carry on, she could never fathom.
Now, she could see very little. Her vision was blurry and all she could hear was her own heart beating in her ears, her own blood coursing through her veins, the beep of the machine that was keeping her husband alive and out of nowhere, her name, a question. “Lily?”
The priest, Father Patrick, who had sat with her and Jacob when Jaden lay dying, was here now. She blinked when she looked at him, the tears starting to flow freely now, and said, “Jacob…”
Father Patrick took her in his arms and, as they were going to take her husband away for his organs, her knees buckled and the reality of her grief, of her empty heart and sorrowful soul, knocked the wind from her chest. She couldn’t breathe.

Almost a year later, after speaking with Father Patrick before the anniversaries of the deaths of her husband and her child, she had made a final decision. She’d spoken to Father Patrick about the decision she’d made and asked him if it was selfish. He could only tell her that she had to do what she felt was the right decision.
For years Jacob had been promising to take her to the Grand Canyon. She decided to take the trip herself, carrying both her husband and her child in her heart. As she slowly climbed to the top of the cliff, the wind was roaring in her ears. She could feel Death. Again, they were doing this strange, yet familiar dance.
She spent quite a few minutes sitting at the top, looking over the beauty of the land, taking it in one last time. Her first, and her last sunrise in the Grand Canyon, had been spent camping here. She’d never seen anything so breathtaking. She was sure she’d never see anything so beautiful again.
Finally, at the same time that her husband died, she took a step and leaped off the cliff. The wind, Death, roared beautifully in her ears and she laughed. She laughed until she cried and screamed goodbye. She screamed goodbye to her dead child and husband, she screamed goodbye to the house she’d sold a month before, she screamed goodbye to the life she’d lived.
She closed her eyes for she knew the end was near. She could see it coming and braced herself. In the darkness behind her lids she replayed her favourite memories of when they were still a full family. Full of love, full of laughter, full of life. She smiled softly and the tears, locked behind those closed eyes, made the memories seem like a watercolour painting. “Goodbye,” she whispered.

The snap of the bungee cord forced her eyes open and, as she dangled there, she said goodbye to the ghosts of her husband and her child, the life she’d lived with them, and the life she’d lived in their absence. She apologized to them both for choosing life.

Creative Inspiration

So I received the coolest gift ever.

Ok, I received several coolest gifts ever but this one pertains to my writing. One of my bf’s sent me a birthday present and it contained this gorgeous nugget of a gift.

photo belongs to: yellowshoesinthecity.com

photo belongs to: yellowshoesinthecity.com

Since I have been having serious writer’s block for quite a while now, this is so well received by me. Not to mention the fact that this is just cool beans!!! Have you seen this before? No? (If you have then be patient as I fill in everyone else)

It’s basically this book of writing prompts and you fill in the answer, by simply being your creative, bad-ass self. Some prompts?
“You’ve had a really rotten day, you’re mad at the world, and in an evil moment you decide to give a classroom full of impressionable, hopeful young writers all the worst possible advice anyone could give…”
So now you come up with what that horrid advice is.

Another prompt:
“The smell of a place you love.”
Describe that smell. What is it? Your parents home? Your favourite getaway? Your bedroom? Work room?

Another prompt (and I love this one):
“Elvis Costello said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Discuss.”

This book was “written” by 35 writers from the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto and is a creative’s dream. I am so looking forward to how fun, hard, easy, frustrating, sad, hilarious, enlightening this project could be.

So here’s what I’m going to do. Since my writing is better typed (as much as I prefer to look back over a book filled with crinkly, written pages, the sound of which is music to my ears, I can type faster and keep up with the ideas that flow through the grey matter) I’ve decided that I’m going to do one or two entries a week (I’d prefer more but I’m a realist) and post them here. Is there anyone else who is also doing this? Or has done this? I’m super excited to get started and I hope you’ll follow along. I’ve googled and the hashtag #642thingstowriteabout is what everyone is/has used.

šŸ™‚

Notes from my cell

In my previous post I wrote about writing little things on my cell and saving them.
This one I wrote with the intention of putting it in my book. It never made it in, though god knows I have plenty of time.

My book is about abandoning your home, and your parents, and yet we always come back, even when sometimes we shouldn’t, because there’s this blood tie.
Salt water runs in my veins and I never feel it more than when I am “home”, or when I am away too long.

Here is what I wrote, late at night, emerging from a painful experience. I was thinking about my first visit home after leaving my island, believing at the time that running away was my only salvation, the only way to keep my sanity.

“I was like a child defiantly running away from home because my mother had asked me to clean my room. After I’d been gone a year I realized just how much I loved and missed that home, the island, my earth mother, with her soothing ocean washing clean my pained soul. We never realize what beautiful gifts we have until they’ve been taken from us, or until we discard them like broken toys, and I dearly missed the caressing fingers of her sands as she tickled my toes. But it was too late and I knew it. The child inside me had died and I was left empty, hollow and lost. Only when dipping my feet in her ocean did I again feel whole.”

Book quote – Help!

Quite frequently, when I’m reading or listening to music and I stumble onto something I like, I write the quotes into the notes on my cell phone but I never manage to write down the source. I know, I know, always cite your sources. I’d get a failing grade, for sure.

What also sucks is that I quite frequently write down, also in the notes of my phone, my own writing. I don’t have to cite my source as I am source enough. It’s my phone and I am the writer. What more could I need??

The only time it becomes a problem, however, is when I’m unsure if I’m reading something I’ve written or something from a book/movie/song. I then have to google the quote and hope to god I can find it somewhere online. When I can’t, though…

Case in point. I’m PRETTY sure this is from a book. SO sure, in fact, that I think it was at the top of the left hand page. Possibly it could’ve started on the previous page but the quote ended on the left page, at the top. Think you can help me? I know I didn’t write this (though I wish I did) and hopefully you can tell me what book it’s from. It’s driving me buggy!!

“Heaven isn’t about choices but everlasting love. Life, this is about choices. Choose happiness. Or misery. Or both. Choose whatever you want so long as you choose.”

Alright, kids. There’s your quote. Feel free to comment when you’ve got the answer, at which point you will be my hero. I will reward you with … public gratitude and … many thanks, made publicly … and oodles of gratefulness… ?

Also, happy new month! (or white rabbit, if you’d prefer, though I fear we’d lose the darn thing in the snowbanks)

Dreams of The Past

Sitting by his bed, his respirator like a song of life. I found a beat with every group of noises, found a note in any lasting hum. His respirator seemed oddly slow for the life it was holding onto. I tried to breathe as slow, in and out, such long breaths. I wondered if he could ever breathe this well in real life, when he was alive. When he could make faces, play guitar, shuffle along in his slippers. I wondered if he heard the rhythmic tempo of his respirator, his life support machine keeping him in perfect time. I found the tempo soothing, as if being rocked to sleep in a warm train. I fought to stay awake.

My father’s hospital room faded away and I saw my grandparents house at night-time; all the stars in the heavens so beautiful. I look up and wonder if they are even real. They sparkle like diamonds on this cloudless night. I look back at the house and there are lights in the windows. I realize it’s Christmas. Slowly I walk up the steps to the house. I stop and look down, my feet remembering, so many years ago, that there are steps hidden here, like a time capsule of memories. My grandfather hasn’t had his stroke yet. I look at the two lions, the regal cement guardians. It seems just yesterday my brother and I were riding them like wild horses. They’re slowly chipping away now, layers of paint and cement giving way under rain and snow.

I continue up the steps, pass the flagpole, the trees, and walk to the bay window of the dining room. Christmas lights all around the window, a frame for the memory I may see inside. My grandmothers china cabinets, her Christmas cactus. I can smell the fireplace in the crisp winter air around me. I walk to the side of the house and try the front door. The door opened easily and soon I was in the house, standing on the brown shag carpeting. I was immediately surrounded by the smells of my childhood: baking, tea, a wood burning stove, my grandfather’s pipes.

I could hear voices coming from somewhere in the house. They seemed frantic, panicked.
The voices were coming from the basement.

I ran to the basement door, pushed it open and ran downstairs. The musky smell, mixed with firewood and bark, filled my nose and I felt swept up. Suddenly I could barely stay upright I was so dizzy. When I neared the bottom of the stairs I wasn’t in my grandparents house anymore but was walking barefoot on linoleum, cold linoleum, to the yelling voices. I realized I was in someone else’s house. I looked into the kitchen and saw my father as a child. His face was still as if it were a picture. He was crying, his face red and he was standing with his arms at his sides, his hands clenched in fists, quiet anger filling his body. His father was standing at the other end of the room, yelling, but I couldn’t hear him. His voice had been turned off, muted. His face was red with anger, his eyes wide and demonic, his hair messy. I didn’t recognize this man standing in front of me, this man I’d called Grampa. I walked closer to him, to see what it was my father had seen everyday. He was yelling, still muted, still red faced. He was shuffling his feet and flexing his hand open and closed, open and closed, as if trying to recover from hitting something. I looked back at my father, just a child, and saw he was bleeding from a cut on his cheekbone, the skin puffy, dotted white and red. There’s a bump underneath his cut. I make a tsk sound, saddened, and my father, this child, looks at me, catches my eye, and looks back at his father. I can hear my grandfather now, his voice scaring me so much I jump.

I stare at my grandfather, this horrific, unknown, insane person, as he yells at his child, asking who he’s looking at and if he really thinks she can save him.

I can feel the butterflies in my stomach are leaving the only way they know how. After throwing up I see it’s blood and look back at my grandfather, just as he’s about to punch my father.

“NO!” I yell, lunging for his fist. He stops, as if in a movie, paused, and looks me in the eye. “How could you?” I ask. He blinks, his only sign of acknowledgment and movement. I ask again. “How could you? He was so little. How could you hurt your own child? You killed him inside. You killed him!”
I’m yelling at my father’s tormentor, watching as tears stream down his paused face, his eyes still looking at me, softer now, the grandfather I know. I turn around, looking for a bloody child standing fiercely against the barrage of fists that he knew was coming, and he’s still there, still looking at me. I can feel hot tears streaming down my face for the pain my father endured.

“It’s okay,” I hear this tiny boy tell me.
I shake my head, hard, unable to speak for the lump in my throat.
“It’s ok” he says, again.
I try shaking my head again and finally get out a “No.” I kneel in front of him, grabbing his shoulders tightly. Finally I find my voice. “No, it’s not! You have to fight back. Fight against this!”
“I can’t,” he says. “I’m too little.”
I can hear, behind me, the monster rushing towards us. “You have to! You have to!” I plead over and over.
I’m consumed by darkness and I feel my father’s shoulders disappearing. I try grabbing for them, to save him, protect him, but he’s gone. I kneel there, no longer crying, wondering what happened to that boy, when I feel someone’s hand in my own. Warm, big, stronger than mine. I look down and see it is my father’s hand, battered from his accident.
I had woken up from my horrible dream and wondered how it was that our hands were interlaced, holding onto each other so tightly.