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How Kind the River

Ever since my youth I’ve known of a stream. I reached into its depths, and it delivered pretty things. “I would so like to ballet,” said I to Mother one fine day. Mother’s fingers swirled the surface, and I barely heard her say, “All that is gold does not glitter/The nut in the bough of the tree/But if this is what you wish for/Surely the river will give to thee.” ‘Twas not a fortnight later, when I was home from school, that I found a pair of slippers and a kit of ballet tools. I rushed to thank the river, passing Mother dear. The surface merely twinkled, and my path henceforth was clear.

Whenever I needed a favor, down to the banks I’d run. I’d bring along my mother, and she’d enchant beneath the sun. “All that is gold does not glitter/The bird in its twiggy nest/But if this is what you wish for/Surely the river with bless.” And I would wait but a fortnight, and all good things would come to me: a kite, a cake, a paper doll, a flowering apple tree. And I would run to thank the river, passing mother dear. The surface would do its twinkle, and I would dance in its depths, clear.

This lasted ‘til my twelfth year, so many things had I. But Mother was getting sickly, and soon was sure to die. So I ran down to the river, and entreated beneath the sun: “All that is gold does not glitter/The heart within my breast/But if this is what I wish for/The river will do the rest.” Confident was I that Mother would regather all her strength. Confident and foolish, and naïve in my mistake. It wasn’t ‘til I buried her that I realized the fact: my mother was the river— the gifts, her selfless act.

The riverbed had dried up, and I moved away from home. Years and years passed hither, and soon I’d a girl of my own. I’d take her down to the riverbed, still as dry as sand, until I started singing a song from my past: “All that is gold does not glitter/The bird in its twiggy nest/But if love is what you wish for/Surely your mother will bless.” I don’t believe in magic, I don’t believe in fate. But my daughter has my mother’s eyes, and I’ll often here her say: “Mama loves you, dearest. River run dry and low.” And I’ll feel a peace deep within me, a river within my soul.

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What Should I Call This Post?

Right now I am anxious. I hear a rattling in the near distance–dishes loosing their calls as they butt against each other on their watery way down. Now someone’s tapping plastic against plastic. And I can’t concentrate. In vain I stab at my keys–clack, clack, clack–punctuating the pauses. Coldplay blares. I wonder why I can’t have it all together. It is a cacophony of noise and emotion here, and I for one am unsettled.

^’scuse bad, purple writing.

I have published one book. I should be happy. But two heads are better than one. I want to have that feeling again. Something more tangible this time. Paper. I want paper. I’ve decided–at least, I think I have decided–to self-publish a novelty book. I wonder if that will fit the bill. I wonder.

And I can’t believe I’m sharing this. Complaining. I should be positive.

Don’t get me wrong: writing has been going better lately. But I have three finished (written and rewritten) books that need homes and I don’t know what to do with them. It kind of weighs on you. As Sylvia Plath said, “Nothing stinks more than unpublished writing.” …or something akin to that.

Do I shelve them? Forget about them? Maybe I should just put them down as experience and move on. Write. I need to write.

Okay, I’m done whining here. On a different note, next week I’ll be posting a short story of sorts 🙂 Just something fun, nothing fancy.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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The Man in Apartment B

They tell me I am losing things. At first it started out small: a name here, a birthday there. Then the things got a bit bigger, somewhere in the neighborhood of where did I set my keys and where did I park my car. No one was too concerned. “Papa’s getting a touch forgetful,” as my granddaughter would say. At least, so they tell me.

But you. You seem to forget nothing.

You say I live in apartment A. Caught me milling about in the entryway, heard me yowling for Mrs. Herman. Mrs. Helpson. Mrs.—Hellman. You sit there laughing at me; you know the name. You think this is funny, do you? I must say, I find your smug attitude intriguing. I was a young whippersnapper like you once. Must have been. With a handsome face and a voice that would charm any of the fairer sex. That is no more.

One day you’ll be like me, Sherman. Don’t think you won’t be.

Oh dear. I’ve gone and confused your name again, haven’t I? Forgive me. They tell me I am somewhat forgetful. That’s why they moved me into this smaller place. Less to forget, Kate says.

But I can tell by the look on your face that you think this is a mistake, and I quite agree. A man needs the familiar. A man needs his own home. A man needs—a man needs…

I knew a man like you once. Do not look so surprised—or perhaps you are hungry; never could tell the difference. Yes, this man was so intelligent. A good friend of mine, was Albert Lingus. But my wife and I moved away, and eventually old Albert and I lost touch. A shame, really. He was a good man. A smart man. You would have liked him, Sheldon.

He’s probably long since dead, as soon I will be. Yes, long since dead. I think I died when my memory started to go. Can’t be sure. But I heard someone call this the long goodbye, that, day by day, moment by moment, I would slowly yet surely cease to be myself. That’s my definition of dying.

So, you sit talking with a dead man, Seamus. What say you to that?

You don’t say much, do you? At least, not to me. With your roommate you seem to never shut up, if you don’t mind me saying so. Poor Dr. What’s-His-Face. Seems like a good man, that doctor friend of yours. I wonder if he could have a look at my knee. It’s been ever so stiff in the mornings, and I can scarce get out of bed. But I suppose that is a typical dead man problem.

Do you fear death, Sheridan? No, I suppose you do not. I can tell you, in case you are afraid, that it is not too bad. Now you are the nuisance in the corner, shoved aside by everyone saying how much they’ll miss you when you’re truly gone, but ignore you whilst you remain. Remain. Like I’m a stain on the underarm of a shirt, waiting for vinegar and elbow grease to wash me away. I suppose when I am gone for keeps, people will be sad at first, but relieved mostly. “At least he isn’t suffering anymore,” they’ll say. At least. Least. I am the least.

But I am jabbering now. So good of you, really, to allow an old man into you flat, to sit at your table and tell horrendously boring stories over a cuppa tea. Very good of you, sir. And very good tea, too.

I forget where I put my tea. Must have been lost it in the great move. Maybe it was shipped off to the wrong address, and now a family of three is enjoying a nice strong cup of my own special bled.

I blend my own tea, Sheldon. Have I told you that? Ah, but I think you knew anyway. You have a way of knowing things before a person knows themselves. Like that time, glancing at my hands and knowing I had recently fired a gun. How did you know that, you clever man? Even my family didn’t know it was I at first. That poor dog was not a dog, but I’m told we’re to keep that hush-hush. You won’t tell anyone, will you? Ah, good man. You’re a good man, Sherman. It was just a flesh wound, anyway. Jeffy will recover soon.

Was out gardening—or was it getting the mail? Can’t remember. But I could swear it was that ferocious dog mauling a boy, like when I was twenty-three in the old house. I shot the dog. Shot Jeffy. It was an accident, mind. You won’t tell anyone? Thank you, Shirley. You’re a good fellow.

Did I finally get your name right? No. Well, blast. But I can see by your eyes that you are growing weary of my idle chatter. So good of you, really, to be honest with me. Honesty is a trait missing in so many men nowadays. You are honest, my children are not.

Have I told you about my children? There is Jeffy. Someone shot him in the buttocks, poor fellow, we cannot figure out who. He lied to me. Said I was too forgetful to be left alone. Then Kate—Kate’s my daughter, I think you’ve met her on the stairs—she lied and said that the house was too much for her to take care of. My wife never had any such trouble running the farm and keeping the house and raising her children. I think Kate merely did not want the responsibility. I wish she would have come out and said. So, here I am, living in flat A. Is this flat B? Very lovely, very lovely.

Oh, and I see you play the violin. And were those eyeballs in the fridge when you opened it just now? I could have sworn I saw human eyes staring back at me. They must be part of one of your experiments Kate warned me about. Yes, Kate warned me about you.

“Dad,” said she, “leave Mr. Homer alone.” Then she went on to Mrs. Hattford—oh, you know who I mean!—about how odd you are. And, judging from the eyeballs in your ice box, I can say, with confidence, that you are an odd man. Yes, perhaps even a dangerous one. In fact, did they say you shot Jeffy? Someone I know shot Jeffy, I am quite sure of it.

Don’t stare so thoughtful at me, sir. You look as though you know something I do not, vexing man. Did you shoot Jeffy? No, you don’t need to answer that.

I have people who know where I am. They’ll be back shortly. In fact, I think I hear them coming now. I think I just—I think I’ll just…

Oh, Katie! Is that you?

Must be her. Fine tea. Must dash.

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Hello, it’s me

Not sure that title has anything to do with what I’m blogging about today. In fact, what AM I blogging about today? *stops to ponder*

I took a furry little someone to the vet. She was not happy. I had to lure Cricket into the crate with a treat; it worked–but I have a strong feeling it never will again. Before you get worried: it was just a wellness visit, to get her second round of feline leukemia vaccine.

Here’s a pick of her at one of her most chill moments:

003

 

In other non-news, I’ve been editing…no real writing, but that’s okay. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and studying different books, so it feels like I’m accomplishing things.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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Mourning, Trailers, & Epiphanies

Earlier this week–Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!–I had an epiphany of sorts. Or, rather, TWO epiphanies. They are as follows:

Epiphany #1: This actually was brought to my attention from a pal on Critique Circle (my online writing group.) I had posted that I was ashamed of myself for not getting any writing done on my novel since Chester (The Cat)’s final diagnosis. Evensong pointed out that I REALLY am in mourning.

Mind = BLOWN

I know, I know. It should have been obvious to me. The nights where I cry until I’m hyperventilating should’ve been a clue…Anyway, Evensong told me to be gentle and patient with myself. Keep writing…but for myself. Write about Chester. Or Cricket (kitteh.) So, yeah. I took her advice and I wrote over 200 words about the cats.

Epiphany #2: My one novelette was way too wordy and full of telling where it should have been showing. The POV character (also the narrator in the story) added a lot of remarks about his feelings and reactions to things. What brought me to this realization? Why, the second movie trailer for LOGAN, of course.

Here ’tis: Green-Band Trailer for LOGAN.

Now…have you watched it? Yeah? Who stood out the most in the trailer? Three guesses, and it wasn’t Logan–to me, at least. The young mutant girl stood out most, and yet she didn’t utter a single word (well, she did growl, I’ll give her that.) She expressed what she thought and felt through action, gestures (or lack of), and facial expressions.

Plus, the whole mood of the trailer led my mood as I hacked away at the manuscript. There were only forty-seven pages of story, so it didn’t take too long. But I think I have a strong, more expressive novelette to show for my work.

Have any epiphanies this week? TELL ME!

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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Be the Change

A smart man–Gandhi, I believe…or was it Mother Theresa? Am too lazy right now to look it up. Anyway–A smart PERSON once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

If you want to see more love, then LOVE.

If you want to see more kindness, then get out there and work some RAOK magic.

If you want to see less negativity, think before you speak.

If you want to hear more good news, make more good news.

Volunteer. Peacefully protest. Sign petitions. Write a blog post or Facebook post or Tweet about an act of kindness you witnessed.

The thing I’m learning is that being negative will get you noticed but for all the wrong reasons. In 2017, let the buck stop here. And may it with you as well.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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In the Sky With Diamonds

I know I’ve been posting only about cats lately on social media. There hasn’t been much writing going on here. Still in mourning. But…BUT…

I have started the process to adopt a kitten! She’s a tabby who looks a lot like Chester, but the eyes are totally different (Chester’s were green; Kitten’s are yellow.) And you know what? I think God and Chester give her their seal of approval, because on the way home from meeting her, I looked up into the sky and it was all cloud-cover, except for two light ovals with clouds floating the middle. They looked exactly like…

CAT EYES.

My mom saw them, and at the same time we said, “Cat eyes!”

Miss you, Bug! I have your memorial up and I am not forgetting you.

And for those who are wondering: NO, I have NOT given up on writing 🙂 Just taking a small break.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth