My Very Short Holiday Story and Photos

make-it-snow_picard

I don’t own Star Trek or the rights to this graphic; I just think it’s cool. But you can buy this T-shirt elsewhere online.

Life is unpredictable. (All the more reason to hold onto it and help others do the same.)

We’re currently waylaid by the unexpected: a sick child. Sadly, we will not make it to Grandma and Grandpa’s as soon as we’d originally planned.

However, if I’ve learned anything about parenting, it’s that you must be flexible. (That’s probably been the hardest lesson for this type-A personality.)

On a positive note, I hope you all are enjoying your holidays, if you celebrate. Here’s my early wish to you for a happy 2017 as well.

Now, the story . . . which isn’t here, but it was published:

winter-tree

The first day of winter.

So, my story ran yesterday (21 Dec. 2016) on 50-Word Stories. My many thanks to Tim, who’s the force behind 50-Word Stories, for taking a chance on odd fiction, which I think my story “Trees” qualifies as. If you enjoy dark/horror flash fiction and appreciate a scary story, give it a like-click over here. And be sure to check out 50-Word Stories; every day they post two bursts of microfiction and are the go-to source for a smorgasbord of shorts (fiction, that is).

In the meantime, enjoy these winter-ish photographs.

Until we meet again. Soon.

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Can you spot all the critter footprints?

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

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!

 

 

 

Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 23 – Season

Well, May is shaping up very nicely. And busily, especially in that my fledglings will be leaving the school-nest in a few weeks and flying home. Let’s hope they don’t peck each other to death. (Only kidding! Okay, partly.)

The lovely Hugh, via his able and charming stand-in host Ronovan, has a photo challenge once again that sparked my interest: Seasons, which I interpreted as Nature. You’re shocked, right? [In any case, I do encourage you to visit blogger & author Ronovan’s blog, right over here.]

Here are a few views of the season here in the Northern Hemisphere, North American style.  Oh, I’m told I should put a warning/caveat of sorts here. These photos will feature wiggly squiggly critters from outdoors.

There was one decent photo of a cute little toad(let), but I’m having a problem converting it from the phone. Besides, you’re saying “oh my glob, does she not know when to stop?” And so, I shall.

Hope you enjoy these nature photographs of the spring season.

Two blue eggs

Robin’s eggs. They should hatch soon.

Powerbox Nest & mom

Same nest, same avian ingenuity.

Baby grapes

Tiny grapes a’growin.

Introducing Charlotte

The kids call her Charlotte.

Sick tree

The fungus that looked like a flat rodent.

Balancing nest

Avian ingenuity, part 2.

Crow watches

Hey, human, you talkin’ to me?

Snake-front 2

Ssssstay away from me, lady!

Snake-above

Yesss, I’m colorful, but didn’t I tell you to get losssst already?

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 21 – “Fresh”

Hello, fellow Hugh-go-nauts! Hope I’m not too late for the weekly photo challenge.

Whereas Hugh rustled up a scrumptious and delightful photo of tropical fruit, here’s a different bit of freshness I’ve experienced of late.

A freshly laid (lain? egads, those are hard to remember!) duck egg. Yes, no matter how hard you try, they are never completely clean, when you retrieve them. This one was still warm.

And a luxurious duck-spa visit amid a fresh pool of water. This is what ducks love to do as soon as you fill or refill their pool with tasty, new, cool water.

Not much time to write this morning, but I hope to be back blogging some fiction and/or poetry this week. So stay tuned!fresh splash

 

Fresh Egg

Monday Markets: The Taxing Spring Edition

April—what some say is the cruellest month—might also be one of the busiest.

See what you think, poets and fictionists and essayists (oh my). . .

  1. April 15: WordPress poet Bob Okaji and friends will be reading their works in Austin, Texas, at Malvern Books. Here’s the full scoop on how you can make Tax Day (better than) great again by injecting it with some lively  lines.

    Lawn Needs Trimming

    Fortunately, I love purple. As for mowing grass, not so much.

  2. April 15: Earth’s Daughters, which might be the longest-extant feminist literary arts journal in the United States, is seeking poetry and prose on the theme of Ebb, which itself includes themes of “cycles, rhythm, continuation, or cascades.” Up to 3 poems and/or one 500-word fiction piece; they harvest first rights only, but it might take upwards of 2 months for them to read all submissions. Make sure you peruse their complete guidelines—or, better yet, subscribe to them if you like what you see on their site, including poets Denise Levertov and Marge Piercy and those whose names you don’t know (yet)!
  3. April 15: This is a popular date for submission deadlines, and I’m not even including several Hungry birdother good ones. Whortleberry Press, who thrive on speculative fiction, are looking for sci-fi, fantasy, and light horror works for their “Strange Mysteries #7” anthology. Short stories must be 4,000 words or fewer. You’ll also want to read their brief stylebook with your full attention.
  4. April 22 deadline: If you’ve got something to say about Mother’s Day, then you might like to contribute to the 200 CCs story site stewarded by writer Paul A. Hamilton. So, you need a story of +/- 200 words, that’s “punchy, memorable, and complete if possible rather than vignettes.” This is a paying market, but it does request some rights from authors, so familiarize yourself with that, as well as what he has already published. Then, good luck!
  5. Starting April 30 (multiple deadlines): The people who do the Chicken Soup books are looking for a bevy of stories, from tales about dogs and cats to blended families to teachers and teaching. Wouldn’t it be fun to make it into one of these well-known branded books?
  6. May 12: If you’ve got a completed dark manuscript lurking about, with strands of ambitious saliva dripping from its fangs, then the #PitDark Twitter contest/party could be right up your menacing alley. Writers of dark literature, including fantasy, horror, YA, and murder mystery, this note’s for you. Check out writer Jason Huebinger’s site for the specifics on how you can pitch agents and publishers in the genre and—one lives in hope—receive a request for a partial or full manuscript afterward.

AND NOW: I see you, but do you see me?

Peekaboo

Humans are such meddling, nosy creatures.

Limerick Challenge: Week 14

Pear tree

Our pear tree, minus partridges.

This is for the latest limerick challenge at Mind & Life Matters, which I’m having trouble linking to (Inlinkz-wise) just now. So, go read ’em, and thanks for reading mine!

Resilience

Within every green or gravid thing,

something rests on sublime wing.

One sapient heart can never know

the pain of the taproot, or the furrow.

“When I’ve light,” says the coal-trapping girl, “I sing.”


 Oh, also, I’m sorry for the “Daily Fail” link about the coal trapper (ignore all that celebrity junk in the page gutter); that’s the place I found the quote, hanging there as it is. As you can perhaps intuit, I’ve been doing research on child welfare/child labor in the 19th century, and from this, I’ve concocted a “soft” horror story. (It’s out for submission . . . wish me luck!) Also, I #amwriting something in the Steampunk vein; it’s been an education so far. How about you?

Pear close-up

I’m ready for my close-up.

A Winter Tirade, with Photos

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Snow-city panorama

The day is a diffuse white, blunted to gray. Periodically, birds burst from ledges or eaves or from the last spent leaves (ah, yes, bright, but still spent). Their bodies strafe the eye. Confused snowflakes cavort with, shuffle by, skitter, shimmy against, bump into, and bend with the now-visible air. If the winter air were malleable matter, I think it would be a blooming sort of smoldering steam: an extra-spectral substance of an inhuman colour, nebulous, neither white nor gray nor blue. Nor any other.

Still, I can’t drag my eyes away . . .

Breadbox buildings have been dropped down, brick by brick, deposited perhaps a century’s worth ago, from when there was no snow as it is now. Today’s snow—we call it ours—is a (by)product, a staged phenomenon, a commodity, and a managed entropy, made sheerly to be seen. A honeycomb of progress, humming eternalwise, have we created to view it, the perspective extending farther than these eyes can see, perhaps any eyes. Visualized, viralized, winter’s reality—its realness—always in the wings, parade and charade only a click-blink away. Under-thumbed, if you will.

Yesteryear’s snows, it seems to me, were an occurrence. Better still: an event, a surprise, and an opportunity for communion. With each other. And it offers up unparalleled opportunities to link with extraneous aspects of self–atomstuff (or starstuff or plantstuff or any number of substances)–that earlier were perhaps closer to the vest, held to the heart, even.

Now, on a tide of leveraging and mergers, calculated risks and calendars

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A different day; a different cathedral

and broken benefits, winter starts to recede, if such evolution can be eye-tracked.

In places, the spires are hewn, nearly gone, used up, spat out among true detritus. Heretofore, Nature hobbled along, alas, just barely, as we left it alone, keeping our jaundice-ringed cuticles to ourselves. But has it now passed the point of no-intervention, here in the Anthropocene?

The snow, once inescapable, rendered incapable, salted like earth, sewn like the kind of dragon’s teeth that were never intended to grow. Yet, ice-wind can still whistle clean through the ribs, ghost song, so long-gone.

Will we listen, or just push it away and adapt?

What say you?

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This squirrel has found a lunch scrap of old, mustardy bread.

A Gallery of Stripes; with a Tip o’ the Hat to Hugh’s Views and News

Welcome to my writing blog! And what better way to start the week on a writing blog, she chirps absurdly, than with a photographic gallery?

It turns out, you probably have photos of stripes you never even remembered! As it happens, most of my patterned stripey ones are family and nature (some very subtle on the theme, I think!). All were taken with a digital camera of moderate to low quality (especially as I’d had it for several years). I probably should have, but I don’t like working with Photoshop and photography programs as they make me dither, so these are straightforward, uncropped, unadjusted, hopefully not too unfocused or unbalanced, and so on.

If you enjoy these photos and/or want to play along, you’ve not got long. They’re incredibly fun, so do check out the dapper Mr. Hugh at Hugh’s Views and News for his stripes photography challenge. But don’t stop there: he also provides blogging tips and other photo challenges, including a weekly “Doors” prompt (the household type, not the band!).

In the meanwhile, please do visit me again and enjoy your week, wherever you are!