Category Archives: Writing

Crushed

Infatuation’s a mazy guest.
He arrives in a flash of froth;
Sparkling butterflies keep him aloft,
Every day is a fervid fest.
Except after a month or three,
He provokes a touch of anxiety–
Will he ever settle his swirling mind,
Or just keep me guessing all the time?
Every day feels improvised
I ask questions and he swims on by,
Like a slippery fish with a charming smile.
I chase, he ghosts, in air or sea…
I’m exhausted, can’t eat or sleep;
I’ve had enough!
Begone, at once, and take your stuff.

Oh, now I see how this nonsense works:
He’s left his unpaid bills, the jerk!

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The Conversation

“Max, we need to talk,” Rachel said. “And I think you know why.”

Max sighed. “Seriously? I couldn’t even begin to guess.”

“Just like a guy.” Rachel rolled her eyes. “Everything is deteriorating and you don’t even have a clue.”

“Come on. Isn’t that a bit dramatic? I thought you were happy. Just last week you said you had so much fun.” Max smiled as he tried to cajole her back to her normal good mood.

Rachel wasn’t having it. “That was before I realized things were falling apart to the point of danger and possible harm if we continue on.”

“Oh Rachel. For heaven’s sake!” Then Max saw where she was pointing and gasped in alarm.

He took her hand. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea the foundation was rotted out. We don’t have to spend Friday night in a silly old treehouse ever again. Let’s go to the movies!”

Two for Tuesday [movie reviews]

SPOILERS!!!!!

1. A Simple Favor.

This is one of the movies I was really looking forward to seeing. The previews were so tantalizing… and after watching Henry Golding slay in Crazy Rich Asians, I wanted to see him in another role. Plus, I was predisposed to like the female leads: Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick. Am I now going to say boo I hated it? Nope! I loved it. It was fabulous!

However. I would not have liked it as a book. Generally, I say to myself, self, I like the written version best and the screen is never as good as what I can imagine from the words. But not this time. There were several elements, one in particular (which I hesitate to reveal even to those who don’t mind spoilers), that are on my hate list. If I see this on a novel description, I won’t read the book. Yep, that bad. But I didn’t mind it in this movie.

There were other things that would have annoyed me as a reader ~ I would have paused and thought wtf? Why is this here? Gratuitous backstory weird sex scene. Unnecessary veering into the possibility of the supernatural. But the movie was too fast-paced to pause and think. It was just damn good fun with a satisfying ending.

I walked out grinning like an idiot. Love these three actors. Blake was especially great.

2. Puzzle. This is another movie I had been trying to pin down on Movie Pass and finally gave up. So, I just went and saw it on Sunday with a few friends. Odd flick. Not what I had expected.

I didn’t much like the protagonist. She’s supposed to be some sort of repressed genius whose mind works too damn fast for her mundane life, yet apparently not fast enough to pick up a book or any kind of smart hobby all these years until someone gives her a jigsaw puzzle. And then she doesn’t know where to buy another puzzle without traveling an hour or so by train into Manhattan to a special puzzle store. Because this genius has never heard of Target.

But they need her in the big city for the plot to work, so okay. And it seems we are supposed to dislike her husband, except I don’t. I actually dislike her new man, so there’s that. I don’t like people who jabber psychobabble at you that ostensibly is supposed to make you feel good about yourself, but is ultimately designed to manipulate you into doing what they want all along. I have a big thing about that actually! 😡 Oo Paula’s issues! But it was still an interesting movie overall about family dynamics and such, and I’m glad I saw it.

I’m looking forward to Colette, A Star Is Born, The Old Man & The Gun, Serenity, The Nutcracker & The Four Realms, Bohemian Rhapsody, Robin Hood, Welcome To Marwen, Mary Queen Of Scots, and Mary Poppins.

Geez, that’s a lot of movies. Good thing I have my trusty pass! 🙄

In Praise Of The WP App

No, they aren’t paying me. Though they could, if they wanted to. I wouldn’t mind. 🙂

I was not an app fan, until lately. Why do I need to clutter up my phone with dumb icons, I used to whine? I can just go to the websites. But then I got clued into the fact that apps gobble less battery. Ooh, that’s nice. Next I realized that Twitter is actually better on an app. Can’t explain ~ it just is. After that came the banking and insurance apps ~ not only more convenient, but more secure. Well!

But that’s enough. I’m certainly not going to write lengthy poasts and emails on apps, I sniffed. I need a real keyboard for these dreamy endeavors. And then I destroyed my laptop on July 4th with a glass of iced tea. Whoops! Since I didn’t feel like running right out and buying a new laptop, I began using my phone for everything. Including those long emails and bloggeries.

That’s where the WP app comes in. Not only is it ideal for starting and saving draft ideas, it also has a great newsfeed. I can read, like, and save other poasts! 🤩 In the past, whenever I wanted to save another blogger’s poast for linking later, I had to keep it open in a browser tab. Sometimes I screwed that up and closed it. Now, all saved poasts are in a tab in the app. So fab! Easier to select categories and tags via the app and to schedule poasts. Also, it’s easy peasy to edit or delete one of my own published rants and do blog admin stuffs.

It’s not perfect, alas. This morning I was forced to return to the browser newsreader when I realized that the app reader had missing poasts. Yep, there was a 6-hour window in the middle of the night through which a pile of poasts up and fluttered bye. 🦋 Sad! And the browser newsreader felt clunkier than ever. I could like poasts but not save any. There were annoying “you might like these” blogs mished in with the ones I follow. This made me appreciate the WP app even more. They need to keep the windows closed though.

However, fingers x’d, I am picking up a new (used) Mac tonight, so I will have a real keyboard again shortly. As the days grow shorter, I will resume my favored position of sitting at my kitchen table, WIP in front of me on the screen, while staring out the window at nothingness. But I will keep any beverages far, far away from the puter! 😜

All About Orange

The fact that I have this photo in my blog media library gives me the idea I have written negatively about orange before. But instead of searching for that poast, and lazily efficiently reblogging it, I’ve already banged out a new one. Maybe next time I’ll remember to look for a pic before I start typing like a maniac. Who wants to bet on that?

Orange has never been a favorite color or flavor of mine. There are a few exceptions. Color-wise, I like a dash of bright orange with pink and yellow, lime and purple, for that crazy fruit bowl tropical look. Perfect for the muumuu you need on a cruise to cover up the 10 pounds you gain the first three days before the dysentery hits. And naturally orange is the appropriate base color for Halloween shirts, preferably with black cats, owls, and bats decorating a spooky crooked tree. Boo!

Food-wise, oranges suck. What is up with these things? All pulpy and seedy, with icky white strings you have to keep peeling off. Feh! Waaay too much work. I don’t mind some orange juice, sans pulp, if it’s mixed with mango juice, but that’s a lot of sugar. Did I mention I’m eating a lot less sugar now? Paula’s diet… always a fascinating topic, but we’ll leave that for another poast. As far as the actual taste of orange? Meh. It’s good in cake, I guess. But there’s that pesky sugar issue again! Same with Panda Express orange chicken (soooo sweet and yummy). Oh, here we go with the Panda Express haters piling on to tell me it’s not real Chinese food. 🙄🙄🙄

Okay. Not gonna write a book rn. Bottom line: orange is pretty much last on my list, except for pretty flowers obviously, and it’s not because of you know who.

The Art Student [group story]

I have been tagged for this challenge by Kristian – thank you.

Welcome to Finish the Story

I start a story, then another has to pick up the story and add to it, then hand it off to another person, etc. until the story is complete. This has proven to be quite fun in a blogging situation since we all have different approaches.

Rules–

1 Copy the story below as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please).

2 Add somehow to the story in whichever style and length you choose.

3 Tag only 1 person.

4 If you choose to not participate or finish the story, please comment/tag this post so that I know.

The Art Student

The Haunted Wordsmith

Amy checked herself in the rear-view mirror one last time before heading to C101 in Hawthorne Hall. Just a year ago, she walked those halls as a student, and now she was teaching her very own class.

The door was unassuming, but behind it, magic happened. The class was exactly as it was when she was a freshman. Easels and stools filled the center of the room while cabinets were filled with paints, sponges, canvases, and everything anyone needed to learn how to become an artist.

Students started filing in. Right at 10:00, Amy started her first lesson.

“Hey everyone,” she said, “thanks for signing up for The Human Form. This class is an introduction to drawing the human body.”

The students groaned. That surprised her because this had been her favorite class, but she carried on anyway.

“For our first lesson, I have requested a model who,” she paused and looked at the clock, “should be here any minute. Today –”

A knock on the door interrupted her. Fifteen students gasped and Amy looked stunned when …..

To be continued

Kristian:

An enormous guy with the weirdest skin came into the room. He was so large, he had to duck to get under the door frame and had to step sideways so his shoulders could get through the opening.

He had no hair on his head and his skin looked like a melted wax candle.

Amy took a breath then asked the man. “Excuse me. Are you from the agency? The Model agency?”

The man’s voice was deep yet soft. “Yes, they told me you asked for something different. I must admit I was surprised when they said you wanted me to pose for students. I’m usually sent to horror movies to be an extra or jobs like that. Halloween is my busiest time of year.” He sounded sad about it but resigned to his fate.

Amy replied “Well, I did ask for someone who looked a bit different, not a conventional beauty. Can you stand on that platform and remain as still as you can.

The man removed all his clothes. It was clear that the melted skin was pretty much all over and not a hair grew out of it. Standing on the platform his head brushed the ceiling tiles.

Amy couldn’t resist asking him “Your skin, were you born like that or….” She couldn’t finish the question, but he answered anyway, it’s what most people asked him.

“No, I was a firefighter, at 9/11. I was caught in a fireball.” He could say it now, seventeen years later, without breaking down.

Amy turned to the class with tears in her eyes “Class, take out your pads and pencils, I want you to draw what you see.”

After twenty minutes, Amy began to walk around the class to look at what people were drawing. She couldn’t believe it that…..

My part…

…one of her students wasn’t drawing the model, but instead seemed to be sketching a scene out of Dante’s Inferno.

“Excuse me,” Amy whispered. “But we’re drawing the human form in this class.”

The young woman looked up, a frown ridged between her brown eyes. “I am drawing him,” she said. She went back to her work, her hand moving swiftly across the page.

Amy decided to move on. If a student didn’t want to learn, that wasn’t Amy’s problem. She got paid regardless. She stared down at a man’s drawing. “What’s that?” she blurted.

He looked up, clearly confused. “I… what? Do you have suggestions?”

“Draw the man!” she hissed. Amy was growing frustrated with these students. Why were they depicting hellscapes? She touched the man’s drawing to point out what was wrong and scorched her finger.

“It’s ruined,” he said. “Thanks a lot. You have charcoal on your hands.”

Amy glanced at her hands which were burnt, blistered, and sooty. “I’ll be right back!” She dashed out of the room and down to the health center.

“Good lord!” the receptionist said. “What happened to you?”

:::to be continued:::

I nominate Singledust!

End Of Summer [SOCS]

Round round get around
I get around

The Beach Boys’ music means summer to me, and September first signals end of summer. Labor Day weekend always meant back to school, but I suppose that’s not true these days ~ most schools start mid to late August now. Gotta stuff those little heads full of All The Things! Some college classes begin second week of September or even later. UCI hasn’t started up again yet, which is why my commute is still nice and smooth. Dunno why UCI affects everything everywhere, including my street nowhere near the campus a few cities away, but it does. As soon as classes start, it’ll be all stressful to pull out of my driveway. I live in fear of someone behind me honking because I’m too slow and scared to zoom out aggressively the way normal drivers do. I’d rather just wait. This is another reason why I always build extra time into my trips… my slow pokiness factor.

Okay, that’s enough stream of consciousness for now. I only have three days to finish all these prompts and do laundry too! Sheesh, blogging is getting more demanding. 😀

Here’s The Thing…

I get bored easily. And while I would say my bar for suspension of disbelief is relatively generous, it definitely exists, and once it snaps, we’re done. Last night, I finished S5 of Monk and then watched the final two eps of S8. I just couldn’t take any more of the preposterous plots. (Not that the finale itself wasn’t beyond absurd.)

While I liked the Natalie assistant more than the Sharona assistant, I think the shows were better with Sharona. Idk if this was due to the acting talents of Bitty Schram or the fact that the writing was fresher overall, but regardless that’s my opinion. Sharona sometimes annoyed me, it’s true, and Natalie didn’t, but maybe that’s simply because Natalie was so much blander. I also thought the Captain’s divorce was a cheap writing device. Like damn we’re running out of ideas… we gotta get someone pregnant or divorced. Sorry Leland, your wife’s gotta go. They didn’t even bother coming up with a reason! The reason was he “didn’t know why” she was filing. Dumb.

I’m sad though, since I love Monk, the protag, and I thought the first two seasons were fab. He deserved every episode to be great, not stupid like getting amnesia (another cheap device) and ending up in Wyoming or that absolutely idiotic one with the shock jock and the dog. Omg and that ridiculous thing with the excon befriending him just to steal a postcard out of his mail. That may have been the worst.

I’ll miss my brief fling with this show. While I’m nowhere near the Monk level of OCD, I found much to relate to and smile about.

Prophecy

When the child attained her seventh year, they brought her to the sacred stones. She was the seventh daughter of the seventh sage and possessed the sight.

“Tell us,” they urged. “We must know.”

She stared at the water as it glimmered in the early morning light. The ripples formed patterns that reshaped themselves into a fully formed picture in her mind.

“Fire.” She closed her eyes, her fair lashes fanning over her pale skin. “Brother against brother and fires across the hills until all the men are dead.”

They gasped at her prognostication. “All? Can we save anyone? Babies?”

The girl’s face betrayed no emotion as she resumed gazing into the pond. She stayed silent for several minutes. The sun rose higher and the elders grew nervous. But they waited, faces hidden under hooded robes.

Finally, she spoke again. “When the silver wolf comes out of the forest, send the child away.”

They didn’t question her warning; the probability that a seventh seventh would be wrong was too low to consider. Such a thing had never occurred here, to their knowledge. In fact, as they each thought of it, an insidious treachery had already begun to permeate their tribe. Low-level fighting occurred weekly, though of course the girl would not know of such things, living in her guarded forest glen.

With a nod, they moved toward her. It was time. The girl had served her purpose and done well; now her blood must be added to the sacred stones with others of her kind. Knives flashed out from their robes, sharp edges glittering.

One of the elders stood back and whistled. A silver shape sailed out of the trees and flung itself at the other robed figures, knocking them down and killing them instantly. The wolf looked up, its mouth red, and locked gazes with the girl, their eyes the same misty grey.

The sage held out his hand to his daughter. “We must go quickly. I packed bags for us and hid them under the wandering oak.”

She took his hand and the silver wolf trotted alongside them. When she picked up her bag, she looked back once and saw the hills had started to burn.

“A diversion,” the sage told her. “The longer it takes anyone to remember it was prophecy day, the further away we shall be. I have plenty of gold to buy us passage on a ship once we get over the mountains.”

She didn’t tell him she had foreseen his death while at sea.

Monk(ey) Business [SOSC]

The otter week a couple friends and I began talking about how much we like the show Mrs. Maisel, and specifically we mentioned the father’s character, played by Tony Shalhoub. That reminded me I’d never seen Monk, which he stars in. I always meant to, and Prime has it, but you know… busy organizing socks. Anyway, I started it and am now almost done with S3. I plan to watch all of it (why not?), five seasons or so, except I will take a break soon for a Mission Impossible marathon, since I just bought the first five DVDs, and I’ve never seen any of those movies.

I love the character of Adrian Monk, and some of the supporting side chars are great too (the cops), but I don’t love the show. Does that make sense? Well, it doesn’t have to, pffft. This is stream of consciousness Saturday, and my stream has a lotta meanders in it. Not to mention rocks. And slimy toads on lilypads. Rebbit! God, my phone’s spellcheck is so annoying! What’s wrong with lilypad and rebbit? What was I even talking about anyway? Oh, Monk.

People think I’ll relate to him because of certain OCD tendencies I have, but really mine are nothing compared to real OCD. I do notice things being crooked, out of place, off-center, etc. and that bothers me somewhat, but whatever. In my own personal environment, I strive to keep things neat and clean, matched, aligned, organized, etc., but I’m not a maniac about it. My apartment right now has zillions of imperfect areas. And I don’t bother fixing them. Because eh. Endless. I never touch other people’s stuff, a la Monk, to align it. I’m also not a huge germaphobe like he is. I mean, I’m aware of ucky stuff everywhere, but yet I live a normal life and even have a pet. I touch public bathroom doors without using a paper towel. Yikes.

I could never be a cop ~ I don’t notice details about people, not relevant ones anyway. I might notice something like a woman’s part was really crooked, and the color of her hair, but I’ll fail to remember what she was wearing or anything she said. Or I might remember something really witty a man said but nothing about how he looked. It varies hugely. And I never notice people’s cars, unless they’re BMWs, at which point I will make all sorts of negative assumptions about their character even though I know some BMW drivers are good people. Well, I know of one.

One thing I enjoy about Monk, the show, is that it does progress, albeit glacially. After almost three seasons, Monk has cleaned out the office that belonged to his wife who died like 10 years ago. I’m happy to see that there is hope for him to be “normal” once again. He always had the eidetic memory apparently, but he seemed to be able to enjoy a loving relationship with his wife and a successful career as a detective. One thing I could relate to was his inability to retake the test to get his old job back a few shows ago. He kept erasing the first answer to fill in the box more perfectly and ran out of time. I can imagine doing something like this under extreme stress/anxiety. Which is a weird thing for me to say because test-taking is (was) my forte, but as I age I find it is not true so much and I get freaked out at the idea of tests or anything timed. Even timed games can upset me, especially if there are sounds.

My hypothesis is that when I was younger all these things like tests and dating and rollercoasters etc. which gave me an adrenaline rush were “fun” simply due to some physical chemical reaction, but that reaction occurs differently now because my aging brain processes the chemicals differently, and what was once perceived as yay-stress is now interpreted as boo-stress. (Sorry to get so technical with scientific jargon like yay and boo.)

One of the things I dislike about Monk, the show, is the samey sameness of the plots. They’re ridiculous. And as Monk’s new assistant points out: he’s like the Prince of Darkness. He witnesses a murder, so they have to be sequestered at a cabin in the woods until the trial, which led to some funnies with his OCD, but then naturally there’s yet another murder at the next cabin over. There’s always something like this every time. But since I like Monk, the character, I keep the show on at home in the background… whenever I pay attention again, I don’t feel I’ve missed much. So, in a way, the bug has turned into a feature.

I am starting to like background noise again. My own thoughts are too loud and that was the problem with writing in dead silence night after night weekend after weekend… Paula’s Yelly Brain. I’ll need a new show once Monk is done though. I’m starting to have slight anxiety about what to replace it with ~ it needs to be like Monk, engrossing but not too heavy. I have to be able to fall asleep in the middle of one ep and begin the next one later without a loss of anything important. It can’t be a show full of loads of character development or anything like that. A crime show would be good, I guess, where the crimes don’t really matter because you’re tuning in to see the same main characters behave the same ways every time. Or a comedy, if it’s not too stupid.

Ideas?