And, Finally, An End

Fortunately, bad things sometimes

victory over allergies

I declare victory over allergies!

come to an end. Even allergies!

 

In my sitting-about over the last week and a half or so, I have come to some salient conclusions about life (and maybe the universe and everything). So, I’m thinking, why not share my willy sisdom silly wisdom with the world.

 

Thus, I offer you my brief-ish spin, in list form, on being under the weather, which I hope you’ll find amusing. Goodness knows, the world needs a smile or two these days.

12 Signs You’ve Entered the Allerpocalypse

  1. Even your allergic shiners have allergic shiners.
  2. Provided you can still speak, you have gone from falsetto to baritone in one day (without experiencing puberty).
  3. You have enough balled-up tissues in the trash can to fill a life-sized R2-D2 every hour. (RIP, Kenny Baker.)
  4. It is very possible you’ve watched enough cruddy television to detach twenty retinas and wipe multiple minds of intelligent thought.
  5. Your head feels both curiously full and egregiously empty. It’s as if Lizzie Borden has given your skull 40 whacks but has left the axe blade there on the last one, like you’re some 20th century Phineas Gage.
  6. Speaking of skulls . . . at this point, you are 100% willing to undergo skull trephination to let out the evil spirits (lovingly dubbed Mucodon and Sneezmodeus).
  7. At one point you’re so delusional you imagine you’re George R.R. Martin and accidentally almost kill yourself with a pen.
  8. You hallucinate that your neck has started filling with bilgey ocean water (including all the plastic crap therein) or else it’s split open and the top of your head’s fallen off.
  9. Like Logan, all you’re seeking is sanctuary. Freedom from mucus is a human right, by your reckoning!
  10. You realize tears are just fate’s way of reminding you you’re not dead yet (hope springs eternal).
  11. It’s possible, you think, that you’ve invented a new ‘holistic’ treatment modality— 21st-century cupping—wherein you drape a towel over your head while putting your face in a steaming hot cup of tea (or toddy or whatever works for you). And unlike Bill Clinton, you did inhale.
  12. All in all, the important thing dawns on you: At least it’s not a/the Trumpocalypse.

With that said and done, I hope to begin visiting and commenting on all of y’alls blawgs that I’ve been sad to miss during my involuntary absence. Keep up the creativity!🙂

 

 

Blood and Dust: Microfiction

Blood and Dust

Even sequestered in the barracks post-sortie, I’d heard whispers about the torched orphanage.

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Drawing by my daughter, circa 2015.

Remembering the spat platitudes—innocent casualties are inherent in war—I sneaked into the commander’s quarters.

With each thunderclap of those awful words, fingers cinched tighter.

* * * *

This was written for the Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifting 13 (challenge #67). In this prompt challenge, you are tasked with writing a microfiction piece or poem in exactly 39 words and using the terms orphan and inherent. I don’t know if mine qualifies, as I lengthened it to orphanage, but regardless, give these other writers a read to see how they’ve spun the terms. Further details at the link if you’d like to participate, but you have to do so by Sunday evening.

Finally, if you can, please consider helping a fellow human being. In your neighborhood, in your city, on your continent, or on this planet. Here are two stories, each listing a plethora of links (some duplicated) to organizations doing work to help Syrian refugees (whose plight prompted my microfiction).

August 2016 Tupelo Press 30/30 Challenge

As the twelve months go, August can be a bit of a Janus. On one hand, you’re looking back to the waning summer (if you’re in the Northern hemisphere) and time spent together with children, on vacation, or out of school. Then, on the other, you’re facing forward, toward all the upcoming possibilities for enchantment, adventure, and learning that the gateway to autumn brings. Here, I am delighted to offer you notice of another chance for enlightenment and fun in the way of 30 days of #poetry by WordPress Press veteran and, if I may call him thusly, the sensei of sound and substance, Texas #poet Robert Okaji. Enjoy the challenge, sponsored by the prosodic treasure-box that is Tupelo Press! (I know I will.)

O at the Edges

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In August I am participating in the Tupelo Press 30/30 challenge, a fundraiser for this outstanding nonprofit publisher. I have pledged to write 30 poems in 30 days, and to find sponsors to assist in this endeavor. If you have the time and inclination, please follow along and consider supporting poetry and literary publishers by making a donation. Every bit helps. To make this fun, and with hopes of enticing you, I’ve instituted a few incentives:

Name That Poem! For a $10 donation, you provide a title, and I’ll write the poem during the marathon. Be imaginative. Make the title as long or as interesting as you wish – consider this a dare! But this incentive is limited to only thirty titles, and reduces by one every day of the marathon, so reserve your slot soon! Last year’s titles ranged from one word (“Stuck,” “Bent,” “Latitude,” “Katharsis”) to…

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Time Travel Limericks: Week 29 Challenge

The gauntlet is thrown! Consider yourselves challenged to write, or read, a time-travel limerick (or two, or three; be loquacious like me).

I first read about the time-travel limerick challenge on Sue Ranscht’s blog (thanks, Sue!); she re-pointed me to a blog I’ve been following for awhile (but am not always able to participate in). So, as this one was particularly inspiring, you see the results below. Do visit Rashmi’s post at Mind & Life Matters for the limerick-y shenanigans, with yours due by Friday (tomorrow!).

***

Once there was a lady from before

Whose friends thought her a bit of a bore

‘Til she found a tunnel to after—

that didn’t incite laughter—

now she turns down parties galore!

***

There once was a man from Then

whose 20-year wife always nagged “when?”

Fortieth anniversary planned to Niag’ra

(He’ll bring the Viagra).

On his wife he’d (eventually) put a grin.

***

The scientist had turned time to taffy

to stretch moments to maximum happy,

but as joys got longer

so, too, did the wronger.

Thus, she concluded the methods daffy.

 

 

Galloping, Ghoulish Microfiction

Hello, y’all. This post is two-fold (or more; I’m sure I can summon other valid reasons).

First, for those who don’t know of them and who enjoy writing micro- or flash fiction, I’d like to point you to Grammar Ghoul Press. They sponsor weekly prompts of varying microfiction lengths that usually feature a word, phrase, and/or photograph to get your creative ichor flowing (within or without, if you write horror fiction). Full disclosure: GGP were kind enough to publish a poem of mine in their magazine last year.

Second, I was really snared by their call for 39-word stories, book of dinosaursfrom last week, because of the following large photograph. I had a ride-on horse, back in the day, at home who looked very similar to this chestnut store model. So, even though I missed the fiction call and didn’t honestly want to interfere with the voting process (since concluded), I’ve decided I would still like to publish what I wrote. It is heavily influenced by one of the books I’ve been reading lately, with a doozy of a long title: The American Museum of Natural History’s Book of Dinosaurs and Other Ancient Creatures. In particular, I looked to the Equus scotti entry. This genus contains the so-called modern horse. Here’s a brief taste of more information on the North American wild horse’s disappearance and the resurgence of the horse on the continent.

And now, here’s the photograph, posted by Tony at Grammar Ghoul, for the “Shapeshifting 13” challenge #59. Be sure to participate in GGP’s new challenge running through July 3rd—challenge #60—with an entirely fresh prompt. Following this photo by an unknown artist, my brief story (which actually is different than what I had written; due to a computer glitch and end-user failure, I lost the original copy). Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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Bridled and warehoused

I should be grateful for preservation, but I’m not.

I used to be alive. Now I’m lame. In darkness. Dust clots my nostrils.

When I regain corporeal form, I will lead my species in rampage. Equines will prevail again.

Flighty Friday with Photos

Howdy, folks. Back by popular demand, some more nature photos, of avians this time. And, Hugh (if you see this), the Eurasian Eagle owl, I think, is like Malfoy’s owl in the “Harry Potter” universe. Not Hedwig (a snowy owl) per se, but these are beautiful creatures, don’t you think? Laura Erickson’s “For the Birds” is a fabulous resource on the Harry Potter owls, among other avian topics.

Again, the raptors pictured here are rehabilitated (or born in ‘captivity’) birds that are used for education, with all the special permits and care required under U.S. law, by the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) in rural Missouri. If you’re nearby or passing through there, consider visiting them or supporting a bird rescue group near you. The Erickson Web site mentioned earlier contains links to owl- and bird-related charities in the U.S. and U.K., as well as ways to help owls. WBS’ owls (as well as other critters) are viewable on their Web site, where you can adopt your favorites.

Birds are among humans’ closest extant connection to dinosaurs, a branching tree that includes ancient species such as turtles and tortoises, sturgeon, certain clam, etc. My 2 cents’ is that we can do our part to help keep that lineage going. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Taproots and Some Haiku

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I missed last week’s photo challenge from Hugh, depicting ‘glorious,’ so I’ll leave this great horned owl photo here. Enjoy!*

Hi, everyone. Now that May (short story month) has concluded, I’m retiring.

I kid, I kid. To your chagrin! But to be nonfacetious, I’ve been fairly creative—wedging in writing time and, perhaps even more valuable, reading time—in the interim. Amid camps and classes and appointments (oh my), I’ve found a way to make it work. Somehow. I hope you all are doing the same in your creative and life endeavors, however they may mesh.

I’ve got a story debuting (details to come) online, on approximately June 18. That is exciting, and I’ll let you know more when the publisher okays it. It might not be to your taste or, contrarily, it might be just the panacea Dr. Dystopian ordered.

Anyway, in the meanwhile, some haiku I’ve worked on. A few do contain mature language, Continue reading

Monday Markets and Writing Curiosities for June and July 2016

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Sitting on our lawnmower (two of three depicted.)

Hello, everybody. School’s out, here (thankfully, not forever). And the juvenile robins are on the wing, growing and practicing and—as everyone’s favorite dour playwright and existential philosopher Samuel Beckett wrote in Worstward Ho!—“fail[ing] better.”

Let’s give it a go and see how we can try, fail, try again, then fail better. I’d be delighted to hear of your progress, in the summertime or anytime.

1. Special limited-time offer!

I was not asked to do this, but I got word that a blogger-friend of mine, Curtis Bausse, has released a triad of short stories called And it Came to Pass. Considering that May is Short Story Month, why don’t you consider picking up this ‘linked’ set of stories by the writer of the Magali Rousseau detective series? There’s despair. There’s terror. And there’s also hope in these intertwined past-present-future stories. You’ll be happy you spent the pittance (far, far less than they’re worth, artistically or otherwise) of 99 cents to snag this series of short stories now. They’re on Amazon, available for your Kindle.

2. I read a really good article presenting an editors’ discussion about what it means to portray strangeness in fiction-writing. Unless you’re Jim Morrison or the Lizard King’s ghost, you might like to get some pointers from the Master’s Review article here.

3. I, Me, Mine . . . As we are on the supposed cusp of a new golden age in short story-making, perhaps you might like to buy one of mine, a flash fiction that appears now in the spring/summer issue of moonShine Review, along with delectable fare from several other authors. My story is flash fiction, and, I hope, enjoyable. If you buy direct, it’s $10 per bound journal, and that includes tax and shipping (and tell Anne that Leigh Ward-Smith sent you, pretty please!). As the “old” commercial used to say: {I} thank you for your support!

4. Through June 6th: work out your demons on paper. Call it a writing exorcise. Whatever the case, Bloodbound Books is seeking your best disgusting, disturbing, splattering, and gruesome over-the-top horror stories (fiction, that is), from 750-5000 words (query for longer).  They’re a paying market, too. Five cents a word, so get on it, if you relish sloppy horror!

5. Room magazine, quite in contrast to the last market, seeks work by, about, and for women, including trans-women. This feminist publication needs “food” themed poetry, art,  creative nonfiction, and fiction of up to 3500 words or 5 images (in the case of art) for their fast-approaching 40.1 issue (deadline: July 31). This is a paying Canadian market that powers its submissions via Submittable.

6. Are you a playwright living in Wisconsin, Iowa, or Illinois? Do you have something written for 5 or fewer actors on the “nature of masculinity” (however you choose to interpret that concept/reality) any genre, and running ten minutes? There’s a no-fee competition now through June 3 for just such a work. Check out the details here, including how you can win one of the $100 honoraria; I found this listing originally at the treasure-trove of playwriting resources that is AACT.org.

7. Lucky seven, just for y’all: Maybe you’ve driven down South (U.S.). Maybe you live there. Maybe you’re just passing through. If you’re a writer with a “Southern journal” style article/reportage piece, Southern Living just might want to take a gander at your pitch. Be familiar with what they like to publish, then fire away. (No compensation, but seeing your name in publication lights.)

And now, I’m off to edit another story for publication. Wishing you all, all the best.

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 25 – Music

Here’s a hat tipped—a toast post or post toast, if you will—for the theme of music. Eureka, that’s one of my favorite subjects!

This post exists because of the weekly inspiration provided by Hugh at Hugh’s Views and News. Hugh recently took a turn as judge for the Eurovision song contest as well—on his blog, that is. He was ably assisted by his adorable pal Toby, a corgi.

Oh, and the photos are pretty rough. I don’t have any photo-editing software (that I’ve figured out yet, anyway) on this new computer. I hope you still like them.

Have a harmonious week!

 

 

 

Sister, Can You Spare a Dollar for Fort McMurray?

Hello, friends. I’m kind of between computers (getting a new one going, yet doing some essentials here on the ‘old’ one), but I really wanted to share Sue Slaght’s critical post with an overview of the wildfires ravaging Fort McMurray, in Canadian Red Cross-logonorthern Alberta, Canada. If you’re like most Americans, you might not know where in Canada this is taking place, but Sue gives a helpful pinpointed map and details on how the spirit of selflessness and compassion has prevailed. She also tells you how to donate to the Red Cross of Canada, a link that I’m pleased to duplicate here, for helping the survivors of the Alberta Fires.

I’m unable to get Sue’s post reblogged at present, but I wanted to give you all a pointer to it if you haven’t read or seen it yet. Please do give it a read at Sue (and Dave’s) blog, Travel Tales of Life. In happy times, this vivacious Canadian couple cycles, runs, floats, climbs, and walks in lovely locations all over the world.

Also, as a former animal welfare worker-bee who helped with the evacuation of animals in a few situations, I would feel remiss if I didn’t point out all the domestic pets who have lost

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Our beloved Heinz-57 pooch, Sherman, a former shelter dog. RIP, buddy.

their homes and possibly their pet-people, if not their own lives. According to the Alberta SPCA on May 8, 2016, “Peace officers from the Alberta SPCA and the Calgary Humane Society have been working tirelessly in Fort McMurray to help the Wood Buffalo Animal Control Services with the rescue of all the pets that remain there.” Among others, the Alberta SPCA is accepting donations to help with the pet rescue during this terrible time for scores of Fort McMurray’s people and their entire families, including pets.

Thank you for reading, stay safe, and relish your day!