How To Find What You Came Here For

Hi everybody! If you're looking for something specific, and you don't see it right away, check the labels to the right. I've tried to make sure that all my Write On Edge responses are clearly labeled.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Full Disclosure

The table was a long oval, with tall chairs evenly spaced around and a gap at one end so everyone seated could see the flat screen mounted to the wall at the end of the room.  A wall of windows showcased an enviable view of the city far below, and a modern skyline.

Jessica scanned the table and smiled.  Every business meeting was the same, regardless of the business being discussed.

Satisfied that everything was ready, she moved to the sideboard and checked the carafe and water pitcher. Nothing would be served until the meeting was well underway, but she liked to be sure that the coffee was strong and hot, and the water ice cold.

Voices in the hallway alerted her just before the door opened.  Mr. Bracken was the first through the door, shooting her a tight smile and a barely perceptible wink before he moved to the seat at the head of the table and waved the other men through.

The three men who followed were dressed in nearly identical suits.  The only variation was in the ties they wore, and even those were similar enough that they'd probably been bought at the same store.

"Gentlemen, please have a seat."  Mr. Bracken waved the men to three seats facing the windows.  Jessica knew it was deliberate; in the next thirty minutes the sun would be setting, and that light would come through at an angle that would have them squinting through the rest of the meeting.  Her boss, and the owner of the multi-billion dollar company he'd founded, was a canny operator.

The men - Jessica had named them the Three Little Pigs in her mind - sat at the table and leaned back, confidence in every line of their careful body language.

"Mr. Bracken, let's get down to business." The first to speak, and the clear leader of the little group, she'd named Straw for his blond hair.

"By all means, Mr. Lane."

"Our company is a valuable property, one we believe will provide an essential service to your corporation..."

Straw continued, but Jessica tuned him out to focus on what wasn't being said.

             "...need this deal..."

                                                                                        "...gotta get out from under..."

      "...wrongful death..."

                                                                 "...critical repairs..."

Between the three of them, Jessica pieced together a fairly clear picture of the business they were hoping sell.  A clearer picture than they'd have painted themselves, certainly.  The men ignored her; they'd taken her for a secretary or assistant of some sort: barely step up from furniture and not worth noticing.

Even if someone happened to glance her way, the invisibility of the virtual keyboard ensured that their suspicions wouldn't be raised.  With a final tap, she sent the information she'd gleaned to the smart watch on her boss's wrist.

As the sales pitch wound down, Mr. Bracken leaned forward .  She didn't need her ability to read minds to know that there was going to be blood in the water, and very soon.

"Gentlemen, let's be honest here; your company is in trouble.  Big, expensive trouble."  His flat statement had an immediate effect, as did the details of their troubles he followed up with.

"Sir, I'm not sure where you've received your information from..."  The second of the three, Twig for his long thin arms, sat forward with a concerned frown as Straw voiced his objections.

Jessica didn't bother sorting through the maelstrom of thought her boss had created.  It wouldn't be useful anyway, not with the three of them panicked...

Wait, not all three of them had panicked.  She looked around at the table.

Sitting quietly, arms crossed, was Brick.  Solid, steady, and completely unconcerned.

Well, wasn't that interesting? Jessica thought.

She concentrated on the big man, focusing on him and blocking the others.  When she hit a mental wall she had to smile - she had named him Brick, after all.

"We weren't aware that you employed a sensitive, Mr. Bracken."  His voice was as solid as he was, and it stilled the other two instantly.

And that's why he is the one in charge, Jessica realized.  Not Straw, even if he is the CEO.  Brick is the power behind the throne.

When she turned back to her boss, she saw that he'd realized the same thing.

"I employ a great number of people, Mr. Craft.  Would you care to specify?"  His voice was smooth and unperturbed.  Jessica didn't feel quite so calm - in three years, she'd never been detected - but she took her cue from him.

"Ms. Jessica Winter, standing so attentively behind you.  Waiting to serve coffee, I believe."  His eyes met hers, and she felt a jolt of recognition.  Of the three, Brick had been the only one who hadn't made eye contact with her at some point.  Now she knew why.

"I'm not the only sensitive in the room, Mr. Craft.  Shall we have full disclosure then?"

She smiled and moved to bring the serving tray to the table as the other two turned to their business partner in shock and disbelief.  A little chaos and distrust served with a cup of strong coffee always moved a business deal along quickly, she'd found.



This post is a response to a writing prompt from The Daily Post -  "A mad scientist friend offers you a chip that would allow you to know what the people you’re talking to are thinking. The catch: you can’t turn it off. Do you accept the chip?"  I tossed the mad scientist (they're so hard to write dialogue for!), but kept the mind reading.  

Let me know what you think in the comments, and be sure to follow the link to The Daily Post to read the other responses!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Leap of Faith


Mark had to admit the view from this spot was great.  He could see the entire valley below him: all the little creases and wrinkles carved out by ice and water and time.  There was a nice little breeze as well that kept the summer air from being too stifling for comfort.

Of course, after nine hours stuck halfway up a mountain, with night coming on quickly, it was starting to lose its appeal.



Another gust brushed past him, giving his clothes teasing tugs as it went. 

The ledge supporting him wasn’t getting any narrower, he knew that on an intellectual level.  On a purely emotional level he was absolutely certain that it was half as wide as it had been in the beginning, and reducing every moment he stood balanced on it.

Mark pulled his cell phone out and glanced at the screen again.

The battery was going dead.

Worse, there was no reception.  No bars.  Not even a blip.

“What the hell is blocking the signal?” he muttered, “I’m on the side of a damn mountain, for God’s sake!”

He shoved the worthless thing back in his pocket and zipped it closed.

His eyes tracked upward, searching out the small indention he’d seen almost nine hours ago.

The perfect handhold.

The answer to his problems.

Too far away to reach.

His stomach shivered and he was kind of glad he’d already gotten rid of the small breakfast he’d eaten that morning. 

“OK, choices.  What are my choices?” 

He looked down.  “No, definitely not.” The urge to close his eyes was strong, but he was pretty sure a long drop would follow giving in to that urge, with an abrupt stop at the end.

He’d already ruled out going to either side. The rock was completely smooth in both directions with no handholds, no footholds, no port in the very quiet storm he’d put himself in.

Up. 

That was the only way, and it was out of reach.

Up.

Mark leaned back against the stone and watched the sun sink behind the rolling hills on the other side of the valley.  Any other time he’d have appreciated the brilliant red and orange glow cast on the clouds skipping overhead, but his preoccupation with gravity was monopolizing his attention.

Up.

Moving carefully, he turned to face the wall that had been cradling him all day.

“One good jump, that’s all I need.  One good jump.”

He crouched as much as he could and measured the distance in his mind.  His muscles, stiff from so many hours of standing virtually immobile, protested.  He’d really only get one chance; if he missed, he’d be keeping that date with gravity.

“Right.”  He took a deep breath and steadied himself.

“One…two…”




This is my response to a prompt from Tipsy Lit - the prompt was to write a story about taking a big risk.  As a person who is terribly afraid of heights, and yet has gone climbing, nothing is riskier to me than making that leap for a handhold that's just out of reach.  Let me know what you think in the comments, and be sure to follow the link below to read the other responses!



Saturday, June 21, 2014

...And The Horse You Rode In On

I have a blogger I follow - Jim Wright.  He writes amazing, funny, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking pieces for his blog, Stonekettle Station.

I can't remember when my husband and I started reading his blog, but I was instantly addicted. I went back and read everything (and I do mean everything) that he'd posted on that blog prior to our discovery.  It was easy to see the progression of his writing and the way he honed his skill and developed his own voice in following those early posts through to the most current ones. He has a great voice.

He has made us laugh out loud. He has made us cry.  He has made us angry.  He has made us think.

One of the things I appreciate the most about Mr. Wright is his habit of stopping to think himself.  When something big happens - like the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy - he doesn't leap to the keyboard to spew out his in-the-moment thoughts.  Several days go by, sometimes more than several, while he considers the situation and what he wants to say about it.  What he should say about it.

The result is not always calm, but it is always reasoned.  Always.

I don't always agree with everything he has to say, but I respect what he says and how he says it.  It is rare these days to find someone who thinks before they post on the internet, and who can explain their position without sounding like a grade-school bully doing it.

I have eagerly anticipated each new post, and my husband and I always race to ask, "Have you read the new Stonekettle?"  We read them to each other, and we share links to them without reservation.

And now, he's going dark.

Not because he doesn't have anything to say - I don't believe that will ever happen.

He's going dark because people suck. 

And I'm really, really angry.

No.  Please understand. 

I'm so angry that my fingers shake on the keyboard.  I'm so angry that I'm having some difficulty wrangling the words in my head into some kind of order.

Jim Wright wrote a post called, "Absolutely Nothing."  It was awesome, and it went viral.  That, in and of itself, wasn't all that remarkable.  He's had other posts that have done the same - his writing speaks to people and for people and they are compelled to share that. 

Then something happened that was remarkable, and not in a good way.

I don't know the exact order of what happened when, and honestly I don't care, so I'll just lay out what I know without regard to a specific timeline.

Someone took his face (available on his blog and his Facebook page), and a particularly wonderful quote from the piece, and turned it into a meme.  I say it was a particularly wonderful quote because I used it as the comment when I shared the link to his website and the full post on my Facebook page.

Apparently that's happened before, although I haven't seen it.  I can see how someone would do that, thinking there's no harm in it.  But having seen the meme now, I can honestly say it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  It makes a big deal out of Jim Wright's veteran status, and absolutely fails to link to his website.  It feels a lot like it's using him for someone else's agenda, and whether or not that agenda is in line with his, I can see how that would rankle.  I know that I wouldn't like it much.

But the real shit came from two people I'd never heard of: Mike Malloy and Stephanie Miller.

They are, apparently, talk radio hosts.  Which is probably why I'd never heard of them.  I detest talk radio of any ilk, and political talk radio worst of all. 

These two are purported to be "progressive" shows.  In looking at their websites, and the general information available on the internet, I would judge them to be the equivalent of Rush Limbaugh or any of the other denizens of this murky pursuit.  Specifically - eager to express the most extreme point of view on their end of the spectrum with the sole apparent goal being to stir up the audience.  Truth is optional, entertainment is king.

These two really liked Jim Wright's post.  In fact, they liked it so much they decided to read it on air.  Then entire thing.  Not a quote.  Not a line or two.  Not a few tidbits with a recommendation that listeners (who pay to subscribe to their shows, by the way), head on over to Mr. Wright's website to read the rest for themselves.


The
         Whole
                      Damn
                                  Thing


Now, there's a concept that most people who create are aware of called "Fair Use."

Basically (really, really basically), it means that there are rules for using what someone else has created.  It protects the work that goes into writing, painting, composing, and all sorts of other creative endeavors.

But here's the thing, Fair Use is not cut and dried.  Here's a quote from the U.S. Copyright Office:
The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission. US Copyright Office
So yeah, they recognize that it's going to be hard to know what someone can use under Fair Use, and what they can't.  And what do they recommend?  Asking permission.

Well, hell.  That's kindergarten stuff right there! These people are professionals, they know this stuff backward and forward, so of course they asked for permission first, right?

No, actually they didn't.

And when they were called on it, Mike Malloy - to use the local vernacular - showed his ass.

This was Mike Malloy's professional response:
Well, I'll be goddamned! I read your piece on the air because it appealed to me. I decided it might appeal to others. Big fucking mistake. I had no idea you are such a mercenary, greedy type. Wow. I had no idea you are such an amateur as to bitch when someone (me) gives you publicity. Make money off what you wrote? You have to be kidding. This is where your amateurishness is so apparent. In the first place, reading a piece on the air is considered "fair use." And, um, how would I "make money?" As far as your web site and what it says there about "using" your "stuff", sorry, but I've never been  to your site.  A friend emailed a link from Australia. Now, take your ugly, mercenary words and go back to wherever you came from. And, strong suggestion: Back off with your threats, especially on social media. You are leaving a very public and incriminating trail. Sue me? For reading  something you wrote on the air? Un-fucking-believable! Sorry I rattled your cage, JIm. My mistake. Big time. Trust me on this: you just disappeared. - MM
Guess what? Reading the entire blog post on air, to paying subscribers?  That's not fair use.  In fact, that's just about as far from fair use as you can get, with or without acknowledging the source you got it from, and you could probably argue that since Mike Malloy didn't bother giving anyone the link to the blog, he didn't even do that much.

To make matters worse, there were whole drafts of people suggesting the Jim Wright should be grateful.

After all, it attracted attention to his blog, right?  On my blog, this one right here, that might matter a bit.  I don't get a lot of page views as a rule.  But Stonekettle?  Stonekettle draws over 20k visits.  A day.  My blog has been up since 2011, and I have just over 20k page views total. Besides, I'm going to point out again that they didn't actually direct anyone to the blog!  No link, remember?

And then there's the whole mercenary thing.

OK, that one goes right up my nose.  Right. Up. My. Nose.

First of all, this is coming from people who are being paid, as far as I can tell, to do what they do.  And yet they have a problem with someone else wanting to get paid for doing what they do.  Double standard, anyone?

But beyond that, all they had to do was ask.

It's possible they would have been told no.  It's possible they would have been told yes.  But the bottom line is that it should have been the author's choice. They took that choice away.  They took someone else's work and profited from it, without asking.  Without offering any compensation. 

There's a word for that, and it's not pretty.

So yeah, I'm mad.  I'm mad because this great writer that I love reading is going dark because this was the last straw.

But I'm also mad because this could be me.

I write. 

Not as much as I'd like, but I do write.  I publish some of my short stories and other writings here on this blog.  I've also taken a swim in the questionable waters of self-publishing, and sent a novel out onto the internet to be purchased by strangers and, I hope, enjoyed.  I put a price on that novel, and by association, on my writing.

Some day I could get a call or e-mail or Facebook message from someone congratulating me on getting my short story published in the online magazine they subscribe to.  To which I would respond, "WTF?!"  having not submitted that short story to any publication, much less the one that published it, and not having received any request for permission to publish it.

Or maybe someone will happen on my blog and really like personal story I wrote - one of the more or less non-fiction ones - and decide to forward it to a friend of theirs, who forwards it to a friend of theirs...and so on until it reaches a religious nutjob televangelist who reads it on air, with my name, in support of some asinine point they're trying to make.

Maybe I don't like the sketchy publication that randomly decided to pick my story.  Maybe I'm appalled at the idea that my name and story are now associated with some slimy televangelist.

But according to an awful lot of people, I'm supposed to shut up about it.  I'm supposed to be thankful that I was noticed. 

I'm not supposed to want to get paid for the work I do.

Writing is work.  Even a piece of flash fiction, written in mere minutes, carries the weight of years of writing with it.  Years of viciously critiquing your work.  Years of picking apart sentence structure and word usage.  Years of trial and error while you find your stride.  Years of learning the rule of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting.

Not everyone can do it.  Trust me, I spent some very long years working for a small publisher.  You know those horrible auditions for "American Idol" that they love showing?  Now imagine that in writing form. That's what I read, day in and day out, with only the very occasional ray of light from a truly talented writer.  And honestly?  Those usually turned out to be plagiarized.

How do you get your characters to talk?  Are you going to use straight quotes or "smart" quotes?  It makes a difference when you're submitting to publishers, and when you're trying to format your book for e-publishing.  And how do you go about telling readers who is saying what?  You can't just tack on "he said, knowingly"  (or whatever adverb you pick), to every single sentence.  That's boring.  And really hard to read.

How do you describe the world your characters live in, without actually describing it.  Some authors can get away with huge tracts of land devoted to nothing but description (I'm look at you, J.R.R. Tolkein), but those are the exceptions rather than the norm.  But you have to give characters a place to stand.

Likewise, how do you explain your characters' background and motivations, without having them just puke up tons of info for no apparent reason?

Creating anything, really creating it, is hard.

These days, it's also massively under-appreciated.

I crochet, knit, sew, quilt, and do any number of other things that people like to call "crafty." I'm good at what I choose to do, mostly because I choose to work at being good at it.  I put the time in to learn the tricks and develop the specialized skills it takes to make an afghan that's square instead of a trapezoid, for example.

And it used to be that those skills were valued.

People held on to heirloom quilts, kept them in cedar chests to protect them and hand them on saying, "Your great-great-grandmother made this for her wedding."  Mothers sought out women who could knit or crochet or sew to make those special baby items like christening gowns.  And they paid for them.

Not now.  I stopped selling the things I made.  People didn't appreciate the time and effort it took to make that beautiful afghan, or those tiny baby shoes, or that delicate beaded necklace, and they certainly weren't worth paying for. 

"I can get that at Wal Mart for six dollars."  Great, then get your redneck self right down there, I'm sure they're waiting for you!

"That doesn't look that hard, I bet I could make that myself."  Except you won't.  Because you don't have the patience to learn the skills required, much less sit for hours on end to actually make it.

But wanting to be paid - for my writing, my afghans, whatever - makes me mercenary.

Wanting to be asked, wanting a choice in where my name and my work goes, makes me ungrateful.

That's the lesson I'm taking away from Jim Wright's experience.

There are people who don't get that, who don't understand why Mr. Wright is so pissed off.  And I think I know why.

Because those people don't create.  They don't create, out of their own skill and imagination, a product they actually believe in.

They're not standing on the same ground, because they haven't done or created anything that they believe, really believe, is worth anything.  You're not going to worry about someone stealing something that's worthless, are you?

Jim Wright creates something that is valuable every time he writes, and Mike Malloy and the rest decided to steal it.  He was assaulted and robbed, and then told to be thankful for it.


My response to that, and to Mike Malloy and Stephanie Miller?

FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON

I'm not interested in Jim Wright sitting down and shutting up.  I'd rather he take a stand and go dark than to quietly acquiesce to this kind of bullying.  Because next time it might be me.  Or my friend AmyBeth.  Or the guy I know who designs quilts.  Or the young girl I know who aspires to be a great writer someday.

So yeah, AND the horse you rode in on. 



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Silent Garden, Take Two

As you all may remember from a bit ago, I submitted a narrative poem to be considered for publication in an anthology. I posted my first draft HERE - a poem that didn't meet the requirement that it be a narrative poem.  I tried again, and submitted another (also titled Silent Garden), in two versions - one a traditional verse form, and the other a concrete.  

I got a very nice rejection from them (with a nice little boost for my writer's ego included - the best kind of rejection), today.  Since I don't need to worry about the poem being published elsewhere, I'm sharing it with you now.  Enjoy, and tell me what you think in the comments!

By the way, my favorite writer-type friend and awesome author submitted a short story that was ACCEPTED!  If you'd like to read some examples of her amazing writing, visit her BLOG.

Silent Garden

My memories go deep, as deep as my roots
Left undisturbed since the beginning of time itself
They reach as far into the past as it is possible to go
Nothing forgotten, even when everything else is lost
A blessing and a curse
I remember
Nurturing soil, newly created
Cradling me in warmth and moisture
Until I could break free from the darkness into the light
So freshly born, tender and green
Surrounded by others, identical in form if not function
Time would reveal our differences and our destinies
But in those early times we reveled in our unity
Sharp spears of green grew, spread, changed
I became straight and tall
Spreading my branches with my roots
Wide and welcoming
Fruit, round and ripe, swelling in anticipation
Basking in the love and joy carried on the wind
The spirit, carrying a creator’s power
Whispering of hope and joy to come
I remember
The birth of that hope
Whispers became shouts
Our purpose, realized
As feet trod over uneven ground
Blades of grass bent under unaccustomed weight
First one, then two
Wandering freely over hills and through forests
Designed with them in mind
Each day new and wonderful
Fruit, nourishing and freely given
Plucked from branches hanging low
With the weight of their treasure
The function of each blending with form
Except mine
Of all the fruit, mine alone remained untouched
Untasted, unappreciated
I remember
The long wait for my turn to serve
Eagerly anticipating the joy of completion
The sudden release of weight
As the jewel dangling from a branch
Is plucked away
Aware of the others around me
Often visited, enjoyed
Given the purpose I so crave
I whisper to the wind
Giving my desire to the spirit as it streams by
Traveling to the nightly resolution
Of each green day
Patience, I am counseled
And it is patience I practice
Focusing my energy on
Size, color, flavor
Appeal grown into each perfect globe
And yet I am not chosen
I remember
Watching the others, comparing theirs to mine
Unfamiliar questions crowd close
Where is the difference
Between them and me
What makes my offering less, unwanted, ignored
Unfamiliar darkness seeps slowly into my core
I envy the others
Jealous of every look
Cast their way instead of mine
The desire for the touch of soft fingers
Becomes a lust that bubbles and boils
At each imagined caress
I eagerly gather the sunlight and soil,
Selfishly hoarding resources so freely given
To perfect the allure of what I offer
And when that fails
When that fails, fury burns
Coloring my leaves with the flame of passion
Blinding me to the beauty of the garden around me
Shutting my eyes
I do not see the glances, do not hear the whispers
Hints of a change, a choice to be made
I remember
Trembling fingers reaching
Eyes gazing at the temptation of what was denied
My success, my pride
Never seeing the fear
Never hearing the sudden silence of the garden around us
Never feeling the coil of unfamiliar scales at my feet
Enraptured, eagerly awaiting
The bright point of sweet bliss at the plucking of
What I have so carefully created
My purpose complete, fulfilled
Teeth piercing the dark skin
Juices bursting forth
Only then does awareness begin to intrude
Questions that should have been asked
Rush to look for answers
Doubt beats against me
The wings of a bird trapped in branches
Suddenly clasping too tightly
A shared taste
A shared doom
I remember
The warm caress of the spirit
Now turned cold and jagged
Whistling through trees and grass
Searching for those we were created for
Calling out for the hopelessly hidden
Despair and disappointment in every breath
My proud height bent under the shame of complicity.
Slow footsteps shuffle silently away
Our purpose cast out
Leaving behind
A silent garden

And now, the concrete version.  I'm posting it as an image, rather than text, because otherwise your browser may turn it into something that looks like SpongeBob Squarepants.  And that would be really confusing.  And weird.  Again, enjoy!
  





Sunday, December 1, 2013

Traveling with Magellan

 This is a copy of the e-mail and Facebook message that I sent to Magellan after we returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Tennessee.  It is very safe to say that we've had just about enough of technological glitches!

We've had our Magellan Roadmate (with Lifetime Map Updates) for just under a year now, and honestly we are ready to just switch over to using our phones as navigation.  This last holiday trip is a good example of why:

We were traveling from North Carolina to Tennessee.  There are a couple of ways of doing this, but the best way if the weather is dicey (which it was), is through Asheville to keep to the main highways.  We thought we'd fixed things so that's what would happen, but instead we ended up taking little side roads and two-lane mountain roads through blowing snow and high winds.

I'm typically willing to write that sort of thing off as either my husband or my mistake in setting up the trip.  But that wasn't all that happened.  Our unit routinely routed us so that we turned right off the road we were on, traveled one or two blocks, turned left and traveled one or two blocks, turned left again to travel a couple of blocks, and THEN turn right onto the SAME ROAD WE JUST LEFT. 

Also, it likes to tell us to turn in one direction at an intersection (let's say left), and send us down the road that way for half a mile or so, then have us do a U-Turn so we can then be traveling in what is (it turns out), the correct direction.  Of course, it could have just asked us to turn right at that intersection, but apparently the U-Turn thing is more interesting.

Even more fun is when it had us get on the highway in the WRONG direction, travel for a bit, and then tell us we were at our destination....despite being in the middle of nowhere on the highway with no exit in sight.

Magellan is also apparently a bit confused about roads.  Like, where they are, what they're named, and what direction they should be traveled.  I'm not talking about new roads (although we've had some interesting experiences on those!).  These are roads that have been here for at least 50 years, and that we travel often.

Which makes me suspect the Magellan has some kind of GPS dementia.  It remembers those roads sometimes, and other times it has no idea there even IS a road.  Even when it is on, it seems to get really confused about whether it's day or night, and where exactly you are.  Last week it was convinced I was in the next town over.  I have no idea why...particularly since it had more satellites than it knew what to do with.

It also likes to turn itself back on when you get ticked off and shut it down.  Apparently, it doesn't like being ignored.  It also turns itself off and back on again - typically at the worst possible moment in your trip.  Too many times to count, as we approached a turn, the unit suddenly tells us that it's powering down.  As we stare in dismay, it proceeds to go black.  A second later it's powering back up and continuing on with the trip as if nothing had happened.  We thought it was a power issue at first, but apparently it just likes to reset its tiny little, dysfunctional brain.

We had a Tom-Tom before the Magellan, and we really liked it.  The issue we had with our Tom-Tom was that it liked to completely re-draw your route if you pulled off for gas, or a potty break.  When our Tom-Tom died (the touch screen stopped working), the Magellan was attractive because it didn't do that.  You could leave the road you were on and find a gas station or restaurant, and it would keep the route you'd originally programmed.  I didn't realize that the reason it wasn't going to re-route us was because it wasn't completely sure where we were anyway, and it was just guessing about the directions it was giving us.

We're going to give tech support a shot, but unless we see a MAJOR improvement, I'm giving this thing to my mother-in-law.


How about you guys?  Do you use a GPS when you travel?  If you do, is it an actual unit or do you use your phone?  Has it ever steered you wrong?  Tell me in the comments!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Silent Garden



It was not meant to be this way

Not meant to be so still, so quiet
The call of birds echo with no answer
A bounty, a blessing, an endless buffet
The table set, but never seated
Fruit falls, ripe but never rotten, uneaten

There should have been movement
Feet rushing over uneven ground
Hands reaching for glistening jewels
Dangling from branches just within reach
Leaves brushed aside by shoulders
The flash of light on a quickly turned head

This garden, this endless paradise
Of spring eternally reaching for summer
Was meant to be enjoyed
Created to embrace, nurture, grow
A celebration of life’s gifts
Filled with joy and laughter and love

The dream of an omnipotent God
Woken to despair by the purpose
It was created for
The irony of consequence
In every unwatched glory
In every unheard symphony

The glory of creation unappreciated
Until it was seen over a shoulder
Disappearing into the past
An undying memory passed from child to child
Generation to numberless generation
A warning, a lesson, a myth

What is gifted can be lost
In a moment of greed, a moment of disobedience
Free will, more expensive than any treasure
Paid in blood, in trials, in tribulations
Each propagation signals the continuation
Of wages earned in that one moment of sin

The Garden waits, silently, patiently
For the return of its reason
For the silence to be broken with the voice
Of beloved life, revered vitality
Light without the shadow of
Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger, envy, or pride

Anticipation unsatisfied, hope unrealized
Acts of rebellion, no matter the size
Live far past their origin
Blocking the path with the debris of destroyed plans
Obstructing an entrance
That has been both hidden and forgotten

Designed for a purpose it no longer serves
A relic of an idea that no longer exists
What was cannot be again
When the piece that completes the picture
No longer fits as intended
There can be no return to the Garden


This poem was my first draft for a submission to Garden Gnome Publishing's Biblical Legends Anthology Series - it was completely wrong for what they were looking for, but I liked it so much I couldn't just trash it.  I love poetry, but I don't write much of itI may have to reconsider that.  So, what do you think?  Did the poem make sense?  Did it speak to you?  Did it make you scratch your head and wonder what in the world I was thinking?  Tell me in the comments!