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

DSC_0003

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).

*****++++*****

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

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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!

 

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?

 

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!

Spider Season: A Poem

Spider_small_backSpider Season

What do you do in

spider season?

Enjoy the webs,

never mind the reason(s).

No, not any spider of Frost’s.

Not dimpled, not white.

But fat, and fresh

and stuffed with rendered fright.

Spider_small_belly

I couldn’t get a good angle on this spider, which I think a Neoscona crucifera female (normally nocturnal, but diurnal sometimes in the fall). Anyone with arachnid expertise, please feel free to correct me.

The one that nests there,

outside the screen:

She’s hardly nice

and fuzzily serene.

Tending to her spin,

ignoring huge voyeur eyes,

minding time’s business.

Just wound(ing) infinity, I surmise.


Can anyone tell I’ve been reading (and eyeballing) Edward Gorey’s work lately, not to mention a nifty little book from Tim Burton picked up at the thrift shop recently? Perhaps I’ll share the latter sometime soon.

A Gallery of Days: Philosophizing on Thoreausday

 

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. (Walden, 323- 324)

I’ve always said, aloud and in my head, I’d never want to permanently live anwhere there’s only one or two seasons. (Not that I could afford to live in Hawaii, beautiful though it is.) I need variety to splice up my life. Yes, splice. Sounds sorta like a soda pop, but it’s not. Unless you consider the mental effervescence in the mix.

If life (or our perception of it) is strandlike — and that’s obviously debatable — and generally the threads hew (in the bonding sense of the word) together but are not necessarily linear, do we move from thread to thread, then back again, dancing on high-wires, as we age? Seamlessly or not. Many of the threads are touching, raveling, wrestling, melanging together. Perhaps all of them imperceptibly.

I’ve been thinking how even broken or mistuned words can be therapy. My own writings, or others’. Let’s call the last category shelf-therapy. This is when you dig down past the bites and bolts, through the nuts and molts, letter by letter, sherd by sherd, to excavate some dry meaning from the silty bed of experience.

I’m not a mental health expert or adviser, but I do have a therapist/counselor, beyond myself, who therapizes. To me, self-therapizing is allowing yourself to be . . . not exactly hypnotized, not quite enthralled, but more like a human sieve, mindful of everything and nothing at the same time, both absorbing and letting go of thoughts and the emotions that sometimes anchor them. Think of it as an almost “my god, it’s full of stars” moment. Or at least one hopes it’s semi-transcendent.

I haven’t therapized my own mind lately, but I am learning to be my own advocate, my own walking coping card in a mental Rolodex somewhere among the cobby webs or webby cogs. Wobbly blobs? Bloggly wobs? In any case, I’m supposing that autumn + summer (autumner? Gordon Sumner?) is my favorite trio of months, even with all the hen-with-its-head-cut-off freneticness of school days, holidays, and just plain old everyday days daze.

But now, enjoy a gallery, why don’t you? And many thanks for reading and viewing.

 


Imbibe more autumn-themed posts at Sarah Potter Writes (she has several, but here’s just one haiku). View stunning fall colors (but not trees!) at Cee’s photography blog. Or if you want to jump on the October spirit wagon, check out the Grammar Ghoul Press challenge; a worthy example by Janna T is here. Or take a spin on the tilt-a-whirl of Writer’s Digest‘s latest “Your Story” competition.

Summer Peels off its Mask: Story and Gallery

The yellow leaves twisted, icarean, as they helicoptered down from the trees. A soft breeze teased the grass, except where I’d tonsured a path to, from, and around the pool, raised bed gardens and duck yard, shed, and flattened miniature Stonehenge where the kids like to swing on the forgiving branches of the maple tree. A plastic orange horse with unruly blue mane lies sideways on one fallen pillar, and various play paraphernalia punctuate the circle of leviathan stones: an insect-patterned soccer ball stares you down, a blue-green geodesic dome ball peeks from behind blades, a baseball mitt is upended on another flat rock. Other spheres are caught in the trough of the stones’ belly, but a pair of girl’s well-worn tennis shoes, size 10, still tied in double bows but unfooted, wait outside the sacred almost-ouroboros. Their occupant has tromped away on purple-flowered roller skates, lifting her legs as if hoisted by cranes at the knees.

“Look, Mom, I walk like C-3PO in these.”

These scatterings seem to me a forlorn solar system, guideposts gone, lessons unlearned.

Farther back, fresh human dreck of a tricolor beach ball and a spent pool filter litter the ground, half-mown, where the orange snake threads a path among the stones, and meets its dark counterpart in a charged union of opposites.

Mating and molting, and switching one mask for the other, are already underway. The sun metes out its blight to all within blindness’ field-sight, the sky’s flash bulb freezing a moment in the white-heat of infinity.

And the dog days of August lope off in search of dead smells and living motions, that they may loll in the bed of September’s early, protean decay.

Cicada Shadow

Cicada and molted cuticula. By Leigh Ward-Smith