Thursday, August 27, 2009

#FridayFlash - "Gone"

At first Brandon thought it was a joke. He opened the box of cereal expecting to find another typical gag, like the slimy crawler you could fling on the wall and watch it flip-flop all the way down. Or maybe the miniature comic book with the same pictures of the red-headed kid getting sand kicked in his face. Today was different. The scrap of paper identified it as a Magic Transporter Ring. The instructions read: “Just point it at an object and think Gone.”

He slid it on and made a fist, thinking he was sure glad his sister Danielle wasn’t around to see this. First, she would howl. Then she would tell her friends, and it would be all over the school.

What happened next, though, left Brandon holding his breath. He saw a flash of light, followed by a loud, sucking Schoop!

Brandon didn’t know where he sent Mr. Tibbs, the family mutt, and come to think about it he didn’t care. As long as that stupid dog was gone, never again to hike its leg on the corner of his bed, well that would be all right. In fact it would be down-right coolio. Of course, he needed to think up a good explanation to give his mother.

Just as he working out a story, Danielle came into the kitchen. She crossed her arms and gave him the familiar pissed-at-you scowl.

“I’ve had it with you always taking a whiz with the toilet seat down,” she yelled. “How would you like it if you had to sit on that stuff? As soon as I find mom I’m going to tell her ev—”


This one is a little different from my usual stuff. I hope you like it, though.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saying So Long to the Summer of 2009

I know. Looking at the calendar, the "Summer" season doesn't technically end for another month. However, next week my kiddos start school, and that basically spells an end to my summer break. I call it my summer break because during these months I enjoy climbing out of bed and driving into the office to snatch some time alone to read and write. In a few more days, however, all of that will change, and I'll have to reset my schedule to writing in the evenings once the children are put in bed.

Looking back over my postings this summer, I recall that I mentioned my short reading list. Today, I turned the last page to Stephen King's The Stand, which I estimated would take me the summer to finish. Replacing the dust cover (which I usually remove while reading so it doesn't get torn) the completed book is just another event signifying an end to my summer.

Oh well, that's that. For me, it has been a good summer. I have completed a momentous novel. I have written several short stories. A few have been posted here; others have been submitted. I took a week in the mountains. And I have enjoyed it all. How about you?

Regarding The Stand, while the long stretch in Book II (the novel is divided into three books) held moments of mental fatigue, Book III made the journey worth it. In all of Stephen King's novels, I believe this one to be the most thoughtful about humanity, religion, love and self-sacrifice. There was a poignant moment where I actually felt sadness welling up inside of me. If you don't want to read the uncut version, which clocks in at 1,153 pages, then at least find the originally published version and give it a go. I believe you will find the completed package well worth your time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rest and Relaxation

Today’s posting is long overdue. With a week of vacation in the mountains of Colorado, and no secure internet connection, the only accomplishments lately were a few story revisions to a Chapbook, which will be co-authored by writing buddies Greta Igl, John Towler and Jane Banning. The Chapbook is a result of a friendly challenge (“MySixWriMo”) to write six-sentence stories based from daily writing prompts. It was a fun experiment that produced some nice results. From one of those prompts, I wrote a small piece entitled “White”, which I later expanded into the flash fiction story “Pure White” for the Flash 40 Competition. Once the Chapbook is finished and available, I’ll be sure to post an update; so, stay tuned.

But I digress.

The vacation was wonderful. No alarm clock. No television. No preset agendas. The family had fun being… well, a family. The vistas were incredible. The nights were chilly. A week away from everything can bring peace to all the right places—mind, body and soul. On many mornings, I didn’t climb out of bed until my co-workers back home had already been in the office for at least an hour. Then, it was time to fill the camper with the fresh aromas of coffee, bacon and eggs. Or sausage gravy and biscuits. Or breakfast burritos.

I usually find shopping a chore. Hitting the stores this time, though, didn’t bother me. Here’s a note to all my writing friends out there: you can find some great deals on books while shopping antique stores. Last week, I picked up Burnt Sienna by David Morrell. I also found an autograph copy of Michael McGarrity’s The Judas Judge in almost-new condition for only eight dollars. And the autograph wasn’t one of those printed in publication autographs, either; it was signed with a fine-point pen, and the impression can be seen on the next page. I quickly paid the money and left the store.

As always, the trip wasn’t a total escape from the writing mind. While playing a game of “Stick ‘em up” with my daughter, my mind snapped into gear and the beginnings of a story started to play out. While taking photos of Pagosa Springs, I couldn’t help but take some shots with more stories rising out of the viewfinder. After a day of soaking at the Springs Hotel, I also found a gem of a story in a conversation. It seems that, while it can take the budding writer away from home and city and the office, a vacation can never take you away from prospecting for a new story.

On a final note, if you ever go to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, here are a few places to visit:

  • The Springs Resort Hotel offers several hot water pools, each with their own temperature, starting around 91° and climbing from there. The hottest I could stand was the “Columbine” pool, which maintained its water around 109°. The “Lobster Pot” held water that ranged around 113°. Unthinkable!

  • The Boss Hogg Restaurant. If you go, their Prime Rib is good, and their au jus is incredibly delicious.

  • For the ladies: take time to have lunch at Victoria’s Parlor, a little luncheon place with umbrella tables out on the front lawn.

  • Take the drive over to Durango, and then on up to Silverton. The vistas are awesome. Here are just a few photos:

Until next time…