Sunday, May 30, 2010

two more flashes

How about another two short flash fiction pieces this Sunday?

Written from word prompts . . . I'll let you guess which words were prompt words and which weren't.

In other words, I'm too lazy to do it for you on this sunny, summer-ish Sunday.



I own this dog that thinks he’s a cat. Aloof, he struts by, head held high, nails clicking regally across the worn linoleum surface without paying me any attention, unless he’s hungry. Then I rate a passing glance and a possible side show.

He’s the master of inveigling treats when, preternaturally sensing my moments of weakness, he rises up, gives me that practiced too-cute tilted-head look, his little paws in the air. But he’s just playing me, the cad, and you would think I’d be on to his obvious tricks by now.

I swear he was an Emperor in his last life, Napoleon or Tito. The way he carries himself you would think his drab grey-brown coat was made of ermine, and that silly little tuft of hair which never sits straight on the top of his head, a crown.

And he never, ever wants to snuggle unless he initiates it. It’s completely beneath him to give in to my will. I almost think that if he could open the dog food cans himself, I would be deleted from his mind like so many excess words.

You see, I own this dog that thinks he’s a cat.

But I wouldn’t trade him for the world.


When I eat chicken pot pie, my Mommy says the crust is optional. But she makes sure I eat the insides to give me horsepower, whatever that is. I tell her I’m a girl not a horse when she tucks me into bed. She laughs and kisses my cheek. The blinds are open and in through the window shines a moonbeam leaving patchwork shadows on my quilt. It’s the one grandma made for my bed, heavy as grandpa’s leather coat and soft as velvet. My Mommy pulls it right up to my chin and tells me that I’m as cozy as a bug in a rug.

My cheek feels cool where my Mommy kissed it, and the nighttime world folds around me like melted marshmallows on a bed of chocolate cake. I wonder if the moon really is made of cheese as my Mommy closes my bedroom door while the one to dreamland opens.


Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, May 23, 2010

another fictional flash

Our writer's group got together earlier this week and we had to do a challenge. Here is mine, whipped off in short order, as usual with these types of exercises.

You had to complete the line, "Maybe it was my imagination, but yesterday I looked through the library window and I thought I saw . . ."


Maybe it was my imagination, but yesterday I looked through the library window and I thought I saw a flash of lightening.

I ignored it, of course, and so did the other three with me who were seated, as I was, in retractable foam chairs. I reasoned that the flash must have been something else. It had to be a vehicle of some sort reflecting the early evening sunlight, or an automated welding unit fixing some structural support beam or other.

I mean it couldn’t be lightening. And there wasn’t any thunder, well at least not any I could hear over the constant hum of the air recirculating units. I called up the novel I was looking for and downloaded it onto my data chip, left the library, took the subterranean tram back to my neighborhood and didn’t give it another thought . . .

. . . until just a few minutes ago.

I turned from the recycler to the meal dispenser when through my unit’s small window there it was, plain as a red day, a streak of lightening. I leaned closer to the triple-pained plasteel window and stared up into the pinkish sky, waiting. And I was not disappointed. The sky lit up like a digicam flash and I saw an actual bolt amid the clouds. When the faint roll of thunder vibrated the walls of my unit, I was shaking with excitement. I noticed that old Henry was outside. He was playing with the oxygen breather strapped to his face, lifting it free then setting in back in place again. He was looking at the sky too.

I got on the linkup quick, and called Alice.

“Hello,” came her almost instant reply. Her unit was even smaller than mine.

“Alice,” I said, excitement bubbling up from within me.

“What, what?” she replied catching my enthusiasm.

Another flash lit the sky, “Oh my god, did you see it? Did you see it?,” I talked quickly staring at the sky in amazement.

“Wow,” came Alice’s pleasantly startled reply. I could see Henry pointing now toward the gathering reddish clouds to some of the neighbors who had joined him outside. Old Henry was as excited as a child. I could tell by the way he was carrying on. I would have joined them myself if I wasn’t currently on the wireless with Alice.

“Do you know what this means?” I asked, knowing full well that Alice knew as well as I.

“No more crease marks around my face!” Alice said, and we both laughed with joy.

Six years since we moved to Mars and always the Terraformers kept promising us that one day soon we could walk outside without breathers. For the first time since settling here, watching more flashes of lightening and the thickening clouds, I began to believe it.

Some day soon was arriving and I couldn’t wait to stroll over the surface of Mars and feel the distant sun on my exposed face.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

because it is Sunday

Why else would this post appear?

Oh . . .

. . . you were thinking that I may have something interesting to write about?

Um . . . well . . . er . . . not really.

I can tell you that our search for a canine companion has come up empty, though one prospect is in the works . . . I think. However, the animal protection society we are looking to get him from is entirely volunteer and hence, very, very slow to reply. This is not a criticism, only a statement of fact. These people do incredible work and without them many more pets would be pushing up daisies instead of entertaining new owners.

On the writing front, I’m battling through chapter four right now in third draft. It’s another chapter (like the first two) that I believe is going to mutate into two chapters from sheer length. Which is all good since I still need about 1000 words to hit the magic 80,000 mark.

I will reach that point without any difficulty as I still have twelve more chapters to revise. And it’s just damn slow work . . . or perhaps I need to work more on it every day?

For those thinking of a writing career, let me set a few things down about that. Writing is a solitary pursuit and only you, the writer, can make a career out of it. It pays about two cents an hour over the life of your career. Also, nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, gives a rat’s ass whether you make it as a writer or not. The only person that cares is you, the writer. So, keeping that in mind, go to it, become the next Rowling - but please, please don’t think anybody else in the universe will get you there except yourself.

I’m not bitter about the whole process, though I sure sound like it now, don’t I? What I’m trying to say is writing is a damn lot of excruciatingly hard, predominantly unrewarding work that nobody will really appreciate. So, as a career writer - you must learn to deal with that.

Told you I had nothing much to say today.

And griping does not count as something to say. In fact those same people that don’t give a rat’s ass also don’t want to here you gripe, or whine, or bitch, or moan. So don’t - another piece of free advice.

On the exercise front, I’m doing quite well. With the weather getting nicer I’m able to go for a one hour walk almost every day. Two days a week I do weights to fight off the old-man-saggy-muscle look (okay, I’m not quite at that stage yet) but I do own some polyester pants . . . and they are starting to smell . . . kidding!

Well, I’m quite sure you have other things to entertain you on the intertubes, and this post has probably overstayed its welcome.

I will say that within a couple of weeks I’ll be submitting a short story with hopes of it appearing in print.

You see, I care to get published again even if the universe and all its other creations don’t.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, May 09, 2010

earning and burning

Happy Mother’s Day . . .

There, that’s out of the way.


So, what would another week going by be without me reinventing myself again?

Stagnant, I assume.

With that in mind I’ve come up with a stellar way to keep myself writing while still finding the time to enjoy the things I like to do for fun.

Cryptic enough? Let me explain.

I really, really enjoy watching DVD shows, playing computer games and reading.

But, if I did those things while ignoring the writing - well, disaster would be the consequence.

So, I’ve instituted a method to keep the two parts of my life in balance. I call it earning and burning - credits.

What are credits? Well, they are actually 20 sided dice . . .

. . . I see the look. The 20 sided dice (I seem to have, um a few) are placeholders for credits earned. How I earn a credit is by doing a session of writing or exercising. Every time I complete one session I put one 20 sided dice into a plastic cup. It is now a credit earned. Credits are roughly 45 minute blocks of time.

When I get the urge to play a computer game, read a great book or watch a DVD show I need to have a credit in the cup to burn. No credit earned = no credit burned, and no fun stuff until I earn one.

Has it worked?

Yes, in fact it has. I started it May 1st and so far it’s been a great system. The credits go in and out pretty quickly, but so far I’ve always had credits to burn when I want to goof off. The danger of running out of credits keeps me earning them at a pretty continuous pace.

So there, until another better system of checks and balances comes along I’ll be using this one.

And yes, it did snow last night. Not much, but enough to coat the grass and cars with a white frosty coating - and not like the good kind you find on the top of cupcakes either. The plus side of all this weird weather has been much needed precipitation. Our rain meter cup outside has run over - a good sign for the local plant life.

Well, my time is up and I have to go exercise soon and then call my Mommy.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, May 02, 2010

dogs and rain

Now, I absolutely hate mowing the lawn, but this lack of spring rain is getting a bit silly.

Our lawn resembles a checkerboard of brown and green hard tack. The green is clover - how I love clover.

If you have ever read anything here at the Twisted Mind before about me and the great outdoors, then you know my love of clover and my hatred of damnable grass.

Nuff said.

So, the past two weeks or so we have been looking into getting a four-legged pet for the house. No, not a cat. I may be a writer, but I don’t want a cat. My allergies can’t suffer one of those.

And, after having had four rats already - been there, done that. We were all allergic to them too.

Next on the list. No, not a pig, goat or lama - all of them would be cool, but not very practical.

So, it’s going to be a dog then.

We are looking into several of the local shelter programs and really like one in particular. It’s called TAGS (forget what it means) and looks really good. How it works is rescued dogs spend time at a foster home first, so the foster parents get a good idea how the pet is.

Does it eat furniture, attack men on sight, play with kids, pee on the floor, steal the car and go for joy rides? - you get the picture.

Very good information to know when you want to bring a four-legged friend into your own home. There is an application process because they don’t want goombas getting dogs and then abusing them. We will have an interview soon to see if we are goombas . . . I don’t think we are, but I’m looking at things from inside the asylum, so who knows.

If we pass the goomba test, we can meet a dog we like in the park for an hour to see if we get along. If that works they come for a home visit for a few hours to see how that works. It that’s a go, then the dog comes and stays for 3 to 5 days. If that works out we can adopt. If the process breaks down at any point, the dog goes back to foster parents and hopes for owners who are less like goombas in his eyes.

Don’t know how long it will be before we get a canine of our own because we are being particular. We only want smallish dogs (15-35 lbs) that aren’t prone to causing allergies. Oh, and no Chihuahuas or poodles - so we are pretty limited to certain types of terrier.

I hope this is not a recipe for future disaster. If it works out, then at least I won’t be at home all day writing alone - I’ll have a hair ball to keep me company and help edit my works.

Until next Sunday . . .