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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!

Monday, October 28, 2013

All Sewn Up



Three days to Halloween, four women dead, a killer on the loose, and she was wandering around a quilt show.

Breena shifted her purse and looked around for her sister while she dug out her cell phone.  She still had interviews to read from the latest murder and Kelly was nowhere to be found. 

Eyes still scanning the artificial hallways created by yards and yards of colorful fabric, she dialed her sister’s cell number and started walking toward the featured artist’s quilts on a low stage near the entrance.  The ringing in her ear wasn’t matched by a ring echoing through the hushed space.

Breena frowned and waited for her Kelly’s voice to finish asking her to leave a message.

“Yeah, Kelly.  I can’t find you, and I’ve got to get back to work.  Meet me next to the stage, would ya?”  She knew her voice was annoyed, and she didn’t care.  She was annoyed, damn it.  Kelly had promised they’d only stay an hour, and it had nearly been two.

They’d stopped at the display when they’d arrived, and Kelly had gushed about the designer.

“He’s so talented!  Everything he does is completely unique!”

Breena wasn’t sure what the big deal was – it all looked like a bunch of children’s building blocks sewn together to her.  A price tag caught her trained eye as she passed a large quilt made entirely of sharp points in various shades of blue.  Four hundred dollars for a blanket she’d be terrified to use.  No thank you, she thought, and kept going.

When her phone vibrated against her hip, Breena stopped to check the text message coming through.  The crime scene report was back.

She sighed and looked up, frustrated.

The display ahead of her swam into focus. 

Eyes. 

All of the quilts looked like eyes to her. 

Mildly creeped out, she stepped back and took another look.

Definitely eyes, somehow familiar.  Breena lowered her phone and stared hard at the quilts, trying to focus on the elusive memory they triggered.  She scanned all five quilts one by one, before stopping on the last one.

Kelly’s eyes.  The last quilt was Kelly’s eyes, and the rest matched the eyes of the four women in the morgue.

Breena staggered, her breath whistling out in fear as she reached for her phone, desperate to hear her sister’s voice.



This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge to write a Halloween story in 400 words or less.  It was inspired by a friend on Facebook who designs quilts, but is not a serial killer.  At least as far as I know, at any rate!  Thank you for stopping by and let me know what you think in the comments!