Posted in Writing

500 Word Story: The Gypsy and the Shark

*Writing a story in 500 words is a common writing exercise I have never yet attempted. But, I thought it would be fun today. *

The Gypsy and the Shark

Blame it on the rip tide maybe, or maybe the alcohol, but the tiny boat drifted further out to sea than any of the three passengers ever wanted to go.

Joyriders out for a Saturday afternoon fun in the sun, the laughs lasted long enough until one finally noticed it.

“I see no land,” the young brunette suddenly remarked.

Upon her observation, the boy that was lounging with her, sat up set to disagree. For he knew everything, on account of being the only male in the group, and it was his boat after all. But, even he found himself at loss, as there was clearly no land in sight. The tiny boat, with its trio of passengers was dwarfed against the deep blue sea.

It was the gypsy’s idea to paddle back to shore. She wasn’t really a gypsy, but she fancied herself as such, having a gypsy soul. They grabbed the oars and began paddling back to land, but with the wind, they were getting nowhere. But as the boy paddled, his oar hit something and fell in the sea.

And that’s when they noticed it. The tell-tale black fin circling the boat. Shark. Fear struck the hearts of the three travelers. The brunette dissolved into hysteria. The boy froze. The shark’s back fin rose and fell in the water and splashed them all in the face. Then they remembered.

“The fish! The fish!” the brunette yelled.

They had salmon on board for the trip, and the boy had fancied a sea side barbecue. They threw the fish as far out in the water as they could in hopes of distracting the beast from themselves. It only made it worse. The shark pushed on the boat, and rocked it in search of the food. The trio got a full look its face as it attempted to board the boat. Jaws. It gnawed at the supplies, a machine in search of pleasure.

The boy grabbed a broom and attempted to strike the animal from afar, but his fear kept his too far at bay. No one else had any other ideas. And they watched, frozen. Trapped.

Finally in a massive display of aggressiveness, the shark leapt into the air, splashing salt water it its wake. Its entire massive body left the ocean for a few seconds, a glorious beautiful creature dancing in the sun, all muscle and flubber and power.

The gypsy had had enough. Propelled by what, she didn’t know. But she decided she shark had done enough. In the scant few seconds that the shark made its descent, she grabbed a gilded knife off the deck, and approached the animal with a steel face. She rested one foot on the side of the boat, and made unflinching eye contact with the beast.

Then without flinching, she lunged forward and jabbed the knife deep into the flesh of the animal. The shark squealed, and his blood spewed, but she didn’t move. And then she watched his wounded body fall —like a boulder into the ocean. The wind hit her full in the face, as she stood over her victory. A warrior was born.

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Posted in Writing

The Lodger

A bird flew in my window one night
And took me by surprise
I assumed it must have lost its way
In its epic dance across the clear blue sky
With carefree leaps and dizzying climbs

My open portifice there
Must have seemed as adventure as any
And it stopped in to say hello

I found myself a bit at loss
To see such a queer little guest
For how does one entertain,
Such a tiny, lively thing?
Not with fine china and pressed linens, I presumed

So I found a bit of this and a bit of that
To warm the belly of such a patron
Who sang such lovely songs
Of near and far conquests
Over pink-hued lakes and the tops of golden spires

I listened till the hour was late
And my eyelids grew quite heavy
Then I drifted into shallow sleep
For I should not want to be deemed inhospitable
To this flighty little boarder of mine

When I woke my lodger was gone
To chase another dream, I suppose
A clean caller, my guest did not leave
As much as a feather’s wisp

I shall always remember that bird
And the night it came to stay
But I doubt very much
That it will ever remember me
As it continues its epic dance across the clear blue sky
With carefree leaps and dizzying climbs.

Posted in Life, Writing

…Or Die Trying

So, my New Year’s Resolution was that this would be my best writing year yet…or something of the sort. I think I was rather exhausted after a drama-filled fall and didn’t put a lot of effort into creating a gleaming vision for 2018.

I used to believe in New Year’s Resolutions. There was a streak of about three or four years, that I made one solid resolution each year, and amazingly enough, I kept it, and came out better and stronger the next year. Then, I got cocky and started making too many, or making them too ambitious and the magic failed me, and my resolutions stopped working.

So, then I got discouraged and made my resolutions vague and half-hearted. Now, my only resolution this year was that I would try as hard as I could with my writing, with the afterthought that it would be my best writing year yet.

So far this year, my novel was rejected by yet another publisher, and the web company I was writing for folded and laid me off. It’s only February and already I’m off to a great a start on my best writing year yet.

As I scan the want ads for yet another writing job, I had this sinking feeling in my gut. What if I’m still doing this when I’m 50? Already my 20’s are gone in a flurry of college, temping and failed freelancing. What if this–blogging, writing novels that don’t sell, and chasing an endless chain of short-lived staff-writer jobs—is all my writing will ever be? i’ve sworn deep in my heart, that I will make it as a writer or die trying. What if that’s what happens? What if I die trying to make it as a writer?

There’s the cliche, “Find the joy in the journey.” I am enjoying the journey. But, what if the journey is all I’ll ever have? What if I never arrive? Will it have been worth it?

I guess every artist has to ask themselves that question. If I never “make it,” will it have all been worth it? I don’t have an answer. But, it’s an intriguing question.

…And I have to believe in my heart, that is this is that liberating crossroads, one must come to, right before that “big break.” Because I don’t think I could handle any other answer.

Posted in Writing

the runner

with rapid, vacant blasts the runner moves, the landscape zooming by, b-roll footage in panoramic peripheral, with no end goal, no finish line, just raw, pure movement…movement…movement…movement…movement…just…keep moving…just…keep…moving…muscles…pounding…pavement…movement…movement…just keep moving…brain switches off…don’t think…don’t think…don’t think… just move…just move…just move…and the muscles are independent now, soulless, dead, movement…until it is not.

The runner collapses in a heap, and against all will, strength, desire…begins to feel.

Posted in Writing

Novel Prequel Scene

***This is a scene from the novel, set about ten years before the book begins. Ethan is a spoiled 17 year old who spent his whole life in Paris. Then, his mother died, and he had to move to rural Virginia with his estranged grandparents. In this scene, he is supposed to fly back to Virginia, but he refused to leave France. He finally shows up on the plane at the last second, shocking his grandparents.***

Ethan stumbled down the jetway, dark shades hiding his eyes and a large leather bag over his shoulder. He entered the craft, one of the last to board, and scanned the seat numbers, finally finding row 32 where Thomas and Cheyenne sat. They were primly buckled in, with a perplexed look over their faces. Ethan tossed his bag in the open overhead bin, the noise startling the couple. Ethan leaned in, his palms resting against the overhead bin. He reeked of booze and marijuana. He snidely smirked.

“So, tell me, is it cold in Virginia?” his tone was asinine.
“It can be, yeah,” Cheyenne was still dumbstruck.

Ethan raised his eyebrows over his shades, and cocked his head in resignation. Then he plopped into the empty seat next to them and instantly signaled to the flight attendant.

“Can I get a drink?”

She declined and told him they would be available after take off. He sighed, removed his jacket, threw it over his face, and leaned back to nap.

Thomas and Cheyenne eyed each other. Thomas raised his palm in a gesture meaning to leave Ethan’s behavior alone.

“There will be time,” he whispered to her.

Row 32 was silent during takeoff, neither adult daring to upset the precarious balance achieved with the drunk teenager in the aisle seat.

With the gentle ding of the unfasten seatbelt sign, Ethan jerked himself out of the seat.

Twenty minutes later, he still had not returned. Cheyenne eyed Thomas who briefly glanced in the direction of the lavatory.

“Is he…” Cheyenne’s unfinished thought involving Ethan, the airplane restroom, and some sort of controlled substance, sent Thomas on a search.

He finally found Ethan sprawled out in an empty row, asleep with his jacket over his head. Ethan remained that way for the duration of the transatlantic flight.

He reappeared some nineteen hours later for landing, sitting upright in his seat, disheveled and silent.

________

They landed in Richmond, and Thomas casually informed Ethan it would be a two hour drive to the house. Ethan just raised an eyebrow. Cheyenne waited with Ethan outside by baggage claim while Thomas brought the car around.

Ethan silently sprawled out on a concrete bench, wadding up his jacket for a pillow. He lit a cigarette, while Cheyenne watched him with a mixture of concern, pity and helplessness. She didn’t say anything. Finally, Thomas arrived with a red Land Rover, and Ethan helped himself to the generous backseat, his ever present jacket pillow and sleep.

Cheyenne and Thomas quietly talked of lunch as the airport complex began to give way to somewhat more familiar territory. They stopped at an IHOP and Cheyenne gently tried to wake Ethan. He irritably stirred, and then closed his eyes again.

“Are you hungry?” she asked gently.

He groaned and rolled over. Thomas stepped in.

“Ethan,” his voice was sharp. “Get out of the car, now.”

Ethan groggily sat up, and caught Thomas stern gaze. Ethan shrugged and exited the car, Thomas and Cheyenne behind him.

The trio of travelers entered the restaurant and Ethan plopped himself sideways into a booth bench. His long legs in black skinny jeans filled the orange booth. and his matted long blond hair was cleanly smashed against the side wall. He closed his eyes and tried to sleep.

Thomas’ agitation was growing. The waitress came to take the order. Ethan didn’t touch his menu. He barely opened his eyes, and ignored everyone. The waitress asked him for his order and he barely shook his head.

Thomas stepped in. “Ethan, you haven’t eaten anything since Paris. Order something, or I will order for you, and none of us will leave this table until you have eaten every last bite.”

Ethan’s eyes popped open, and they flashed cold, dark and blue at Thomas. Thomas met his gaze, and they stared at each other for a moment, while Cheyenne and the waitress looked awkwardly on.

Finally, Ethan cleared his throat, and held up one of the promotional flyers without so much as a glance at it.

“I’ll have this,” his voice was hoarse.

“Certainly,” the waitress said.

Once she was gone, Ethan excused himself, a pack of cigarettes in his hand.

“Was that necessary?” Cheyenne asked Thomas.

Out the window, they could see Ethan standing outside smoking his long blond hair blowing in the cool wind. He looked small and alone. Thomas shot Cheyenne a look.

“This one is going to be a handful.”

Cheyenne rose from the table and stepped out into the October air. She approached him and he acknowledged her with a simple eye movement.

“Hey,” she said.

He said nothing. She stood awkwardly with him for a moment.

“I know you don’t think so now,” she said finally. “But you’re going to make it through this.”

His gaze popped up, and he really looked at her for the first time. She saw something in his eyes she had never seen before. Vulnerability.

“How do you know that?” he whispered and stared off, drawing a long drag.

“Because that was the hardest part,” she said. “It’s all downhill from here.”.

He made a face, and nodded slowly.

“You know,” she continued. “We’ve all lost her. We all need each other to get through this.”

He rolled his eyes, and sighed his walls coming back up.

She continued. “Back in Paris, you said that we didn’t even know you. That’s true, we don’t. But, the truth is, you don’t know us either. Why don’t you give us a chance?”

He stopped as if he hadn’t given the idea a thought.

“Come inside. It’s cold out here. Eat something,” she suggested gently.

He shrugged, threw the cigarette on the ground, and followed her.