Do you miss summer already, too? (A ramble and a flash fiction piece)

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A small mantis watches me & vice versa.

Let’s see. In summary, my summer’s been about parenting, copywriting, parenting, parenting some more, mowing grass, seeing a few critters here and there, working at weeding, parenting again, a too-short vacation and time with my husband, and, (unfortunately) a car wreck (bright spot is that no one was injured beyond minor aches).

I hope your hot or dry or windy or wet season has been much more fruitful or at least enjoyable. How’d you spend it?

Here’s today’s vignette, followed by a flash fiction piece . . .

As tides of laughter and shrill screams cascade over LEGOs and reverberate off walls into my writing room (a.k.a., the couch; tomorrow, it might be the kitchen table), I realize, with some mush of sadness and trepidation, that yet another summer is ending.

But I’m ready. It was a busy season; not necessarily a creative writing-productive summer, although I did do a bit of copywriting for the dough.

In a few days, I hope to have a few fascinatin’ features and facts about my friends’ endeavors (like this one) the last few months, as I (I hope) fall into a more regular pattern of blogging about all things literary, spec-fic, ghosty, dystopian, horror-ific, and whatever fancy strikes me in the head that day. [Also, in short, I’ve missed reading & commenting on your blogs! What can I say; full-time, full-on summertime parenting takes precedence.]

Anyway, less rambling and more story-ilization, right? Here’s an odd little throw-away that I hope you’ll enjoy; coincidentally, it has both fire and fury in it (but was written months ago for a 100-word challenge I couldn’t cut enough for).

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Hot Fur

GENRE: Weird, futuristic, dystopian

By Leigh Ward-Smith

“As you know, we’re here to commemorate the crumbling of 21st century institutions. To a man, you each had a role in slaying the dragon that is—or should I say was?—the prevailing mentality.”

The crowd bellows a series of whoops and howls, but fidgety coughs, footshuffles, and unholstered AugReal guns give them away.

Rich, you’re losing ’em. Do something dramatic.

I pull out the cannister hidden behind the flag-strewn lectern. “You all know what this is!” I waggle the can to massive cheers.

“And this.” The realization of the clear tub’s contents spread like our accustomed rolling blackouts.

The chant went up: “Pour it, pour it!” From there, the spark was mere formality.

BLOG_anarchy bear by Gerry Lauzon

Image by Gerry Lauzon, Creative Commons license 4.0 (CC By 4.0).

“Gentlemen, witness the death rasp of the 21st century and all her attendant scum!”

As flames lick the air, I pull a fast-disintegrating specimen out with tongs. I shake a clump loose, and the pallid throng wriggle onto its fallen char.

“It’s Burn-a-Bear Workshop now, ain’t it, boys?!”

END

A Mostly Wordless Wildlife Wednesday

No matter what you call it, I hope you all are enjoying Summer Solstice (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, that is)!

While gardening a few days ago, I looked up and lo and behold . . . visitors . . .

Well hello there, raccoons

 

And then the four cubs saw me and proceeded to climb up this tree. I estimate them at about 3-5 pounds/each.

 

Raccoons in tree

 

Finally, I lured them down with half of my lunch (bread and pear-applesauce). It was quite fun for this animal-lover. I hope their mom was alright (foxes have been afoot lately).

 

Raccoons came down

Have a wonderful, not-hellaciously-hot summer!

 

And now, huzzah for life-saving soap

EcoSoapBankBelieve it or not, but there’s actually a lot of good news out there, on both micro and macro levels. People helping other people, sacrificing their time, money, or even their lives for others. The thing is, sometimes you have to dig for the positive stories.

Out of this seeming dearth of positivity and light, Damyanti at the Daily (w)rite brainchilded and then created the We Are the World Blogfest (WATWB).

WATWB (or #WATWB in twitterspeak) aims to take the digging out of the equation. That’s less hassle and more heart-warmers and smiles for you!

On the last Friday of every month, anyone who’d like to participate and link up to the We are the World Blogfest can do so—provided you have a positive news story to share with others. As I understand it, the WATWB story does not have to be one you reported on, but more like a feel-good piece of information or narrative you’d pass along to a friend or relative to cheer them up or inform them.

Soap pumperI recently read about an organization that is addressing some of my favorite subjects—bacteria, viruses, and epidemiology—in a very tangible and humanitarian way. It’s called the Eco-Soap Bank. You might have seen this organization or its founder, Samir Lakhani,  reported on in various media, because of his recent CNN Heroes award.

In short, when Mr. Lakhani was studying in Cambodia he observed a baby being soaped up in a bathtub with common laundry detergent, because normal bar or hand soap is prohibitively expensive in poor areas of the world. Soap is a basic barrier to blocking disease, and hand-washing a seemingly simple action to prevent disease spread, especially waterborne disease. Did you know that diarrheal diseases KILL approximately 525,000 children worldwide under the age of 5 years every single year (World Health Organization, May 2017 data)? Of course, this problem is accentuated in some parts of the world with less or even no access to clean drinking water, vaccines, and something as taken-for-granted (by most of us) as soap.

Well, Samir saw that need and he tackled it by founding Eco-Soap Bank, which addresses three problems at once. First, it recycles old soap from hotels and other donors that would otherwise go to waste (pulling collected scraps together that are then thoroughly sanitized). Second, the soap bank provides jobs and education to women in so-called developing countries so they can fully care for their families. And third, that recycled, sanitized soap freely goes out to hospitals, schools, and communities that would not otherwise have access to or be able to afford it. So far, Samir’s Eco-Soap Bank organization has donated sanitized soap to a projected 661,000 people and counting (recycling 24,000-plus pounds of soap in the process).

My final thought is, simply enough: Wow! If young people like Samir are in charge of our planet from here on out, the future looks much healthier and brighter indeed.

If you’d like to help Eco-Soap Bank or find out more about their efforts, please visit their Web site.

Likewise, Damyanti features a ton of other wonderful and worthy news contributed by co-hosts and friends. Get in on the good news the last Friday of every month!

Friday Fictioneers: House-Called

It’s not often these days that I get to participate in Friday Fictioneers, but I love the photos Rochelle chooses, as well as reading what people come up with. And so, this fantasy drabble sprang forth. Hope you like it.

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PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

House-Called

genre: fantasy

Pearl placed the last of the enchantments. Each spike brimmed with unseen poison; every adamantine bar thrummed with mojo enough to keep terrors at bay. Continue reading

Whatever this is, it is

Dog & frog

Dog and frog. A friend’s Yorkie, not mine (sadly, as he’s a sweetie).

Here’s something not-so completely different. A proem (ranting + poem).  AU NOTE: Have fun, ghost of Dr. Freud!

Vestigial Child
(3-13-17)

What raw ravaged
seed defines me,
I cannot catalog,

but I can define
each wound
by its unwounding.

This sediment here,
youth; that, betrayal
of not telling.

This layer bounded
by leeched limestone laid
where each burial was swift

centuries chipped in
to what passes for
my soul these days.

Eggshell white
pieces, piecemeal.
Peaceful never.

Hurt rage ranging
as far as the tether
allows, sears, marks,

won’t give, won’t forgive.
Scars come unconditionally
coddling the cold warmth

of phenotypic oddity,
biological prop
vestigial child

mad witness to
your own match
immolating from within

an egg hurled
in that moment
coming full cervix

and splattering on
brutal bedrock:
stone of masculinity, madness

metamorphic as cell,
seed, shell. Birth, death
swaddled in light

bundle of bagged
flesh, fresh bulb
in welcome ground

stunted womb
rooming, roaming
from wing to web to ring.

Every decade
laying down silt
in slighted skin

peeled-back
curetted and curated
to show off. Look:

See that charred
oath dashed to hell?
Shelled-out hulls

fall easiest, prey
to gravity, strung
causing welts,

coiling Weltschmerz
around figments
of neck, rendered delicate

by one’s own
sublime grief, a
doppelgänger, which

won’t get out of
the way. Ghost
obscures the body

until all that remains
is the conversation
with the shadow.

Terrific Tuesday to You: Writing Updates, Shout-Outs, and Some Markets

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And to think: I actually dimmed this somewhat to take down the brightness.

Well, hello there! I shall have been returning and I have returned. (?)

But seriously, welcome (back)! I’m glad to have you visiting me.

On top of the busted ankle, so to speak, I’ve been doing copywriting out of my ears. Not titillating writing, but it certainly helps with the bills. And the Randys, Adams, Jakes, Simons, etc. (Or should I say with the GEs, Maytags, and fine furniture everywhere on the Internetz and on this great little dot we call a planet?)

Anyway, since I love doing the writing market posts, I figured what the heck. I’m behind in weekly posting once again. This is a good way to go, methinks.

Perhaps these will help you? I do hope so. Continue reading