Friday, June 12, 2015

short.

She had no idea where it came from. She only knew that before, there was nothing, and now, there was something. It frightened her at first, seeming to fill the room with it's colors, and it's smell. New and strange and previously unseen and unsmelt. How did it happen so quickly? She had heard some commotion while she was resting, some conversation and the roar of the machine. She was used to these sounds however, and slept through. There was no audible clue that this was coming. It was silent. It seemed, in fact, to absorb sound. When He walked through the room, the thing ate the sound that He previously made when walking. Now she would not know if He was sneaking up behind her. She stepped tentatively on to it. It was soft, and thick. She smelled it's strange smell and then smelled the place where she had stepped, making sure that her own scent was now on it. She put her cheek to it and rubbed, three quick cheeks on each side and a few with her chin for good measure. So far so good, and now this section smelled familiar. She crouched down, and slowly lay on it, and it felt wonderful. Caressing and warm and when she stretched and rolled it felt like it was petting her. She took a nap. When she woke, all was as it had been. Nothing in the room had changed and she was glad, because she liked things to stay the same. Her person stopped to pet her head and asked "How do you like the new rug, little bit?". She didn't answer of course because her person was very dim witted and hadn't learned to speak properly. And she would certainly not deign to learn the language her person spoke. He was laying on it too, and they looked at each other and agreed that play and chase would be so much better with traction.

We got a new Rug! The cats love it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

I don't have a lot of time or energy to write today, but because I skipped the last three days, here is a quick ABC story.
The first sentence will start with the letter A, the second B and so on throughout the alphabet.

Amelia wandered down the garden path, lulled by birdsong and the smell of wild roses. Breezes tousled the tall grass and bluebells at her feet and set the tree leaves above her head to dances both joyful and solemn. Clouds skittered and gathered, promising a turn in the weather. "Don't forget your slicker" she could hear Nanny calling as she ran out the door that morning. Eventually she would have to admit that she had ignored Nanny in her desire to get out of doors. For now, though, she would revel in her freedom, and the wind, the clouds and leaves and wildflowers. Groups of tiny mushroom rings sprung up here and there as she entered the woods. How magical they looked, like faerie rings! Incandescent in their perfect pearly whiteness against the lush grass. Jumping toads leapt out ahead of her on the path, and she bent again and again to touch their rough backs. Killdear beckoned her with feigned broken wings, luring her away from their fledgling nests. Late afternoon crept on, and she began to wend her way home, tired and happy. Mostly, she thought of the supper that would await her. New potatoes and roast beef and a pudding. Oven hot and served beside the fire in the kitchen, Nanny fussing over her grass stains and snarled hair. Peering over the hill top, she could just make out the roofline and felt a thrill of anticipation. Quickening her walk to a run, she flew through the field of Queen Anne's Lace and evening primrose. Racing now to beat the rain as the sky turned suddenly dark, and the wind blew cold and strong. She let out a shrill cry of glee and shock as the first drops hit her, freezing and forceful in the wind. The gate just before her, she turned her face to the sky for one brief moment before a bolt of lightening sent her scurrying for the kitchen door. Up the stairs by twos and with a bang she was inside. "Vexation!", shouted Nanny, as Amelia stood grinning as a puddle of water formed around her on the stone floor. "Wet as a polliwog!" Cried cook. "Your mother will have my hide for the state of you", grumbled Nanny. "Zest those limes, will you", she asked cook over her shoulder as she bustled Amelia out of the kitchen and toward the stairs.

Eh. X is always such a bother. If she'd broken her arm I could've added x-ray.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A little more about Sister


Sister woke, grumpy and suspicious. Birds filled the air with song, a sprinkler ran in the neighbor's yard, and her parents quiet conversation filtered up from the veranda through the soft green of willow branches. She wanted to go back to sleep, but as she turned her head on the too warm pillow, she felt an unfamiliar sensation of short hairs bristling against the pillowcase, her scalp strangely sensitive. Her eyes narrowed as she reached back and touched the little scrubby patch of red hair, easily the size of a strawberry. "Brother" she growled.

The day before had been Brother's 7th birthday. Sister wanted nothing to do with it. First because he was a nuisance every single day, and more importantly because his birth had usurped her 'only child' status and demoted her, simply and suddenly, to Sister. Mother had enlisted her to set the table. Paper plates with garish pirates on them, hunched over treasure chests and leering past eye patches and parrots. Sister felt annoyed by the repetition of the pattern, thinking they could at least have had different pirates with different booty on the cups and napkins and hats. She climbed onto a chair to push the large plastic treasure chest into the middle of the table, and heard Mother call to her "be careful of the wood, dear!". Sister glared at the kitchen door and hated her mother and decided to mar the mahogany before the day was done. "Stupid party" she whispered, and it felt good to say it aloud.

 The treasure chest was just like the one at the dentist's office, which held the constant disappointment of new toothbrushes and travel sized toothpaste. Only this one had a false bottom, and just the top third of it was filled. Chocolate coins and eye patches and cheap plastic hooks with a little black cup sleeve to hide your actual hand in. She wanted to put something terrible in the chest. Cat poop, maybe. Or worcestershire sauce. As she considered how to go about this Father walked through the room. As usual, his voice entered first and left last, as he was in the habit of announcing the names of whomever was present and then speaking at them as he walked in order to avoid being stopped in conversation. "Sister! Look at my tall girl, being Mother's helper today!", the final words fading as he disappeared down the hall to his study. Sister hated him, and she knew he would be drunk by 2:00, and that he would start to act inappropriately toward Mother by 3:00. She knew that Mother would blush and laugh and have to 'take care of it', at which point Father would nap until his observed cocktail hour of 4:30. She felt sick with embarrassment and it hadn't even happened yet. So she pushed it down, down, as far as she could. Because it was a new day she was able to push it almost all the way to her knees.

The doorbell chimed it's eight soothing notes promptly at 11:00 AM, and heralded a tight group of children, carpooled and awkward in short pants and stiff dresses and little bow ties. Within an hour the house was filled with them. And by the time the cake was rolled out they were a tumbling, screaming, disheveled herd of little wild things. Sister could barely tolerate it. Post cake the sugar high would reach its peak. She tried to escape as she had all day and was once again stopped short by Mother. "Please, darling, I need you to help with gifts! Once they're opened you must keep the card with the package so Brother can write his thank you's". Sister seethed. Her ears turned red and she huffed and snorted through her nose like a little ginger bull, ready to gore the nearest living thing. "Of course, Mother." She smiled with her face and shoved the anger down but it only went as far as her throat. It had been a trying day.

More tomorrow...



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

an un prompted exercise


The small shop felt humid and far too hot after the brisk chill of the world outside. Sister ducked her head as she passed the owner, avoiding pleasantries because they were all just lies, really. She made her way directly to the greeting cards. She hated buying birthday cards. Hated their philosophising on age, their degradation of it, their over the top cheeriness. She wanted a card that was unsentimental, and succinct. 'You happen to be my Father, and you were born on this day, which is nice....because I (am supposed to) love you'. What she truly wanted was to forgo the card altogether. To simply push the words 'happy birthday' and 'I love you' through her clenched teeth but she knew this would somehow be unacceptable and the entire thing made her furious. Reluctantly, she chose a card with a watercolored figure in mid leap. She hated it.

She shouldered her way into the wind, pushing back stubbornly as it bullied her in the direction of home. In the force and frustration of it, she found herself arguing with her mother. About the clothes she was wearing. The length of her hair. That time in high school when she had slapped her in public for sassing back. One small round pearl of anger sat in her chest, wrapped in the word Mother. It was not alone. She was also angry at her father. At her younger brother. At the cat she loved, who loved everyone else best. She was unaware of the fact that her anger consumed her. That it hung in the air around her like the scent of perfume and was the reason she was alone. If you asked her whether she was angry, she would likely say 'Of course I get angry, but so does everyone. Right? Doesn't everyone? You can't live an entire life without feeling angry at people.' And the little pearls in her chest would roll softly against one another, wrapped in the words Mother Father Brother Cat.

She arrived with a gust of wind and the whirl of autumn leaves. They snuck in around her ankles, eddying in the corner of the foyer. "Look at those leaves! You're just like that little pigpen boy from those Charles Brown cartoons!" Mother laughed as she rushed toward her, arms outstretched as if to push her right back out again. Sister held her breath, closed her eyes a moment and swallowed the impulse to slap her. When she opened them she sing songed "Mother! I'll take them with me when I leave, I promise! Let me take off my coat and kiss Father hello". She led Mother from the foyer lightly, as if she were leading her in a waltz. Straight into the den together, and a twirl at the end to achieve the quiet laugh from Mother, and the booming one from Father. 'Sister!' he rang out "Sister is here!" over his shoulder and into the kitchen like a cry to arms. Brother sauntered into the room, grinning wide and followed by his exceedingly petite and monochromatic wife. Ever in shades of ecru, bisque, camel, fawn, and wheat, Jane was still 'new' to the family. With her pale hair and pale eyes and pale skin she stood in stark contrast to the family's bright hair and blue eyes and their affinity for shades of coral, turquoise, and lime green. Bearable enough, Sister thought, in spite of the tiny pearl of anger wrapped in 'Jane' within her.

Supper was perfection. Mother outdid herself, and all of Father's favorites lay on the heavy mahogany table at which they ate every meal. The room was filled with delicious aromas, the silver gleamed brightly, the red wine shone deep and warm in cut crystal glasses. There were bone china plates and linen napkins and the soft glow of candlelight. Sister felt smothered by it all. She heard a million slights in the course of the evening, and they set her teeth on edge. Her family's judgement rang clearest in the questions they badgered her with. "How is your work coming along?" "Have you met anyone nice?" "Do you have any plans for the holidays, or can we count on you for skiing in Vale?" And so she judged them in return, Mother's aging neck and empty laugher. Father's red nose and false charm. Brother's cocky swagger and his loathsome habit of blinking more often than could possibly be necessary. Jane's demure invisibility. Sister guarded herself thus against the world at large. A glance from a stranger on the street would send her into a fit, and she responded by silently abusing the person for the next several blocks. She never considered that anyone looked at her kindly.

Sister stood before the unopened bag of powdered sugar and the sifter, barely containing the scream that was building in her. Mother took her by the shoulders and turned her around. "Dear, your dress." she chided, slipping an apron over her head. She kissed her on the cheek, lightly, the suggestion of a kiss that left only the impression of warmth behind. 'Typical, typical' Sister hissed in her head. She turned back to the cake, and after filling the sifter began to tap it in time with her heartbeat, watching the arsenic fall like tiny pearls.


I didn't intend for Sister to poison her family. It was going to be a tale about who we are on the inside and how it projects onto the world around us. But there you go. Also, if you haven't read Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived In The Castle, it's an excellent read. Also, spoiler alert. Oh, and I never got to the cat. But I think Sister would poison it, too.

Tentatively

I haven't written since 2013. But I promised myself that from within this beautiful new creative space, I would begin writing again. So here I am. Uncertain, but willing. I'll be using the book 642 Things to Write About to help me get started again. I plan to write a little (most) every day, and I think it will help to have some prompts.

Here goes...Write for 10 minutes about what is running through a husband -to-be's head while waiting for his wife-to-be to walk down the aisle.


Oh my god. So many of my exes are here. Why did I invite so many exes? So many of her exes are here! Why did she invite so many of her exes? I wonder if anyone will object. Who would object? Certainly none of mine. They probably pity her. They have no idea who I am now! Who do they think they are pitying her? She's lucky to have me! I'm lucky! Stupid blind luck and here I am, about to marry the best person I've ever known. Why is this taking so long? God, I'm so nervous. Hi, Aunt Berty, yes I see you there, waggling your fingers at me. Hi. What color are her nails? They look lethal. Wonder if Uncle Mort felt like this on their wedding day? Look how they turned out. 61 years of matrimonial nagging, berating, and occasional shouting matches. And that was at family gatherings! Poor cousin Maybelline. No wonder she's a spinster. Always coming to these family things with her friend Dixie, year in and year out....oh. Huh. I wonder if Sarah knows? I'll have to ask her later. Later! Later she'll be my wife! God, I'm lucky. Stupid, blind luck. The wedding March! Her mean sister Charlotte! Oh. Sarah.

Hm. Well. It is what it is, and I'm dedicated to posting what I write. So. Until tomorrow.