Category Archives: Writing

The Coffee Meeting [flash 247]

John and Joan met for coffee on Sunday afternoon. They’d been chatting on the dating site, Future Plans, and decided they were compatible enough to take the plunge and talk face to face.

“I find you very attractive in person,” John said to Joan as they stood in line. “What kind of coffee do you like?”

“Thank you,” Joan replied. “You look exactly like your photos, which makes me happy. I’m an avid fan of French roast with whole milk and no sweetener.”

John smiled and ordered two coffees. “Wow! That’s just how I like my coffee! That site sure has a much better concept of how to match people than those other sites.”

“I hate the other sites!” Joan yelled as they walked to the end of the coffee bar to wait for their order. “They never match me with someone who follows my ideology.”

John tried to talk in a softer voice, hoping Joan would follow suit. “Yes, it’s important to find the person we’ll get along with for the long-term. I heard on your profile vid that you also have a collection of Beatles’ records?”

“Not the music group!” Joan laughed. “Actual beetles. I love bugs. Don’t you?”

“Um…”

“And I have a pet boa! He’s my baby. I feed him live mice.”

John looked at his phone. “Oh gosh. I have an emergency at work. I’m going to have to take my coffee and run. Enjoy yours. It was great meeting you!”

~*~

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Tell The Story: ”Laryk the Red” [fiction 453]

Rory has challenged me to tell a story about this photo, and so I shall. You can get the background on this particular challenge here.

Edwin’s parents sent him to sleep away summer camp when he was 5 years old so they could take a long romantic vacation in Europe. The first day at camp, an older redheaded boy named Larry K pushed Edwin into the pool. He hadn’t been taught to swim yet and almost drowned. One of the counselors rescued him.

The second day, Larry K hit a volleyball into Edwin’s head so hard it knocked him over and the nurse gave him an ice pack. The third day, Larry K “tripped” and dumped his entire dinner tray on Edwin. A counselor forced Larry to apologize, but he laughed the whole time and some of the counselors did too.

Eventually, all the other kids began to laugh at Edwin every time they saw him, calling him names and putting silly stickers on the back of his shirt like Larry K did, so Edwin pretended he was sick and stayed in his bunk bed unless a counselor made him come out to eat or hike.

By the time Edwin’s parents picked him up at the end of the summer, he had an imaginary friend to help him deal with the hostility from the campers. The friend’s name was Laryk the Red, and he was a larger, meaner version of Larry K with nasty yellow eyes and tusks. Laryk had big hands to grab bullies and smash their faces into brick walls. He had rotten breath and jagged teeth from biting bad boys’ noses off when they picked on smaller kids. Edwin stood up tall and spoke confidently because he had Laryk to help him, and his parents were pleased.

Later in the school year, however, they grew annoyed because Edwin kept getting into trouble for hitting and biting other children. The next year they sent him to a psychologist, but she made little progress. His behavior became more disturbing in middle school, garnering multiple suspensions, and his parents didn’t know what to do with him.

Edwin dropped out of high school at age 16. He left home, lived on the streets, and broke into houses and cars to steal cash and whatever else he could find to fence. Other criminals learned not to mess with him because of his ferocious temper and appetite for violence. He regularly beat up other homeless people just for fun.

Eventually Edwin was arrested and given a long prison sentence. One day at dinner, a familiar face gazed back at him across the table.

“You got a problem?” Edwin asked.

The redheaded man looked down at his plate. “No. Sorry. I thought I might have known you from a long time ago.”

“Hell no.” Edwin flicked a pea at him. “I’d remember.”

~*~

Now I’m supposed to post a photo and challenge three bloggers to tell a story about it.

Please tell the story:

Jim Adams

Tao-Talk

J-Dubs

Journal: Week 2

9. I’ve been good about actions matching words so far this year (it’s early!) except of course I have already messed up on my exercise goals. But I’m still persevering. Every day is a new chance to feel better.

10. One thing I learned about myself last year is that I’m still good at breaking bad habits, just like way back when, as long as I listen to myself and no one else.

11. I’ve overcome the challenge of dumping Facebook when most people are still on it, didn’t believe I could give it up, and keep making excuses for the executives’ bad behavior.

12. A need I can meet? I assume this would be my own… I was having trouble carving out enough time to write, but I gave up TV and movies and now I have the time. (I will watch the last season of Game of Thrones though.)

13. Recently I had dinner at Vegan Nirvana in Huntington Beach. I’m not the hugest fan of fake meat/fish, though this restaurant does a super job at making theirs especially tasty. I had a big salad and it was good. I would have preferred more veggies/nuts and no fake chicken, but that’s not how they roll. I did get lots of steaming hot water for my tea, so yayyy! πŸ˜€

14. Rory (my NorCal daughter and son in law’s doggie) made me proud ~ she just graduated from her second puppy school class! Go Rory!

15. A good idea… hmm, not sure if I’ve had any good ideas yet this year, but fear not! My blogfans will be the first to know if one arrives at ye olde brain station. πŸš‚

Combo Question Time!

Sadje nominated everyone to answer these questions and I thought I’d have a go. Yes, I’m procrastinating, but I have written a lot on my novel lately, so there. πŸ˜›

1. How long have you been blogging?

– Since the end of 2003 (I’ve had several blogs).

2. Do your friends and family support you in this?

– No one cares.

3. Which is your favorite time of the day?

4. What would be your dream vacation?

– Stay home, read, write, watch movies, get massages, have a personal chef deliver meals.

5. What genre of movies [do] you like best?

– Depends on my mood. Good romcoms, mafia flicks, interesting psychological dramas, GOOD comedy, musicals!

6. What do you wake up to?

7. Are you a morning person?

– After a hot shower and hot tea.

8. What motivates you?

– Organization.

9. How do you think your friends see you?

– Don’t know.

10. What would be your idea for saving the environment from pollution ?

– Scoop up all the garbage and dump it on Mars.

11. Happy or peaceful, what is more important to you?

That’s it for Sadje. Now we go to Fandango, who has answered some Q’s about blogging from Calmkate and recommended we all do likewise. Sounds good to me!

What led you to start?

– When I first began blogging in 2003, it was because all the writers I knew had started to blog, so I thought I should too. Of course, they were blogging about their books and publishing contracts, but I didn’t have those things, so I just jabbered on about cats and cupcakes.

Has your motivation changed since starting?

– Not really. I still like cupcakes. In fact, today I saw on my Nextdoor app that a bakery just opened on Newport Blvd and they have these adorable cupcakes that look like little baby cactus plants, omg! I’ll have to go over there. πŸ˜€β€οΈπŸ§

What has the experience been like?

– Well, I made lots of friends (yay!) and had to deal with a couple stalkers (boo) and got into a big flamewar with some pit bull freaks and ended up closing that blog and opening a really tame one but it was too boring and then there was the private one during my mom’s illness and I quit for a while but missed it too much so I began this one to cope with my sads over the married man and didn’t even post much for a long time but here we are.

Have you learned anything?

– Never ever ever mention pit bulls.

Has your writing style changed?

– I go through various annoying phases but overall no.

Are you planning to write a novel or are you already published?

– Yes and yes.

What advice would you give to a new blogger?

– I’m just going to say what I like, which people can feel free to disregard. Talk about yourself or offer something interesting whether info or fiction or photos. Don’t make your blog a dry piece of toast that’s an impersonal pile of links or advice or god forbid news. We can google that stuff ~ no one is reading blogs to get links to Buzzfeed articles or shopping tips. We know how to find this stuff on our own. Figure out another way to monetize because that’s just too damn boring; I’ve unfollowed everyone who does this.

Dream Path [fiction 340]

In the dream, she is young again, a small girl of perhaps 10 years of age. She is loved and guarded, never left alone, but one night she sneaks out during her mother’s birthday party and gets lost in the forest. It’s much different in the dark with only the moon and stars providing light. She trips over roots and steadies herself on the trees, which loom so much larger now.

Wolves howl and owls scream. She does not fear them however: they would not dare to touch her, a protected princess of the land! Her father owns everything. If not for her family, the developers would tear down the forest. Her grandfather has said this many times. Then she hears a slither near her feet and is not certain the snakes are aware of her status like the smarter wolves and owls.

She runs from the sound, following the moon back to the house, but soon finds herself in a strange part of the woods. It is light in the night ~ how can this be? She realizes the air is alive with golden birds and butterflies, reflecting light from a shimmering stream. Magic! The girl feels happy and free. She begins to follow the stream, her worries melting as she walks along. Growing thirsty, she drinks from the stream and feels full and energized. She could go on like this forever and leave everything behind.

But… something, something holds her back. Something pulls at her hand, something sharp. It bites! Her eyes fill with tears. One of the serpents has followed her to the magical place? Noooo…

“Nurse, she’s pulled her IV out.”

“No problem. I’ll fix it in a jiffy.”

“Mom? Hey, Mom! You’re awake. How are you feeling? Liana and Nicky came to see you today. Say hi to Grandma, you guys. She can hear you. She’s awake now.”

“Hi, Gwamma.”

“Gamma!”

She tries to shut out the voices and return to the magical forest of golden butterflies, but it is too late now. Maybe after lunch.

~*~

Thank you to Laura for the photo challenge.

Art schmart [SOSC]

Art reminds me of an OKCupid question that went “How important is Art in your life?” You had to choose very or somewhat or not at all and then rate your answer as highly important, moderately important, or not important so they could match you with your soul mate. All my soul mates would have to put Garfunkel? in the comments to snark at OKC’s capitalization of the word Art. I suppose if my potential dream man really wanted to be clever he could come up with a more obscure Art like that game show host wozzname… not gonna google cuz it’s against Linda’s rules.

I know we’re supposed to talk about the art that’s on our walls, or in a museum, which could be same same if we live in a museum but probably no one does (sad), but the first thing that sprang to mind was the OKC thing and this is stream of consciousness Saturday. I have a very eclectic mix of art on my walls, and some people might balk at even calling it art. I’m not putting quotes around words when I meta them because that irritates me, just so you know. I am aware of the rules; I simply prefer not to follow them.

Okay walls, here we go. Scattered around my apartment are needlepoint pictures created by yours truly and framed beautifully and expensively back when I had a husband paying my bills. They are of various motifs, southwestern, floral, etc. These were all from kits, except one, the first few Hebrew words of the Shema, which I designed myself. But that’s not all.

I also have a picture of a dragon and a kitty, which are outline-etched in rainbow colors on black and very striking. A print from the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art titled “Far Eastern Cat.” This cool picture of jaguar eyes over my bed. This ultra awesome piece of art my daughter bought for me in Costa Rica that’s a jaguar painted on leaves under glass.

Over my sofa I have a cheap large painting/print of three abstract flowers I grabbed at Bed&Bath when I was married because it has all my fave colors but later decided it symbolized the girls and me against the world.

In the bathroom I have a couple fantasy fairy mermaids, one tending to a dragon baby newly hatching from an egg. And another needlepoint, this one of little seabirds and pretty shells in the sand and surf.

The jaguar from Costa Rica is in the kitchen slash dining area along with another floral needlepoint and a silly poster of a candy bar, but also there are two actual very small paintings from Paris that my ex MIL (RIP) gave us and I took just because.

I used to have a couple Van Gogh posters in my old apartment, but they got messed up when I moved. I love his work. I love art, painting, sculpture, glasswork, all of it. I love to be around the energy of people who create things. That reminds me: I need to put up the little wave painting I did at my daughter’s house.

Yes, if you’re wondering, I am running out of wall space. πŸ˜‚

There were a couple men who put Garfunkel? in the comments to the Art question on OKC, but I never found my soul mate.

Change of Mind

Recently my thinking on an issue has evolved, and I thought I would share it here. It’s semi-political, in a way, but relatively non-partisan. It has to do with how celebrities are treated, whether they are in the entertainment industry or well known political peeps or whomever.

In the past, I basically dgaffed. My view was that, for movie stars especially, they became famous by seeking the spotlight, so live by the sword, die by the sword. I had no patience for their bitching about the paparazzi. The exception was Princess Diana, but, still, was it a photographer’s fault her chauffeur drove like a maniac?

That was a long time ago, and before celebs were on twitter along with their stalkers. Same for politicians, etc. It’s really not a solution to say “get off social media.” I can, since I don’t actually have a writing career. But a politician can’t. An established author must have an online presence. Actors are probably told the same. Etc.

They are not only relentlessly mocked and harassed, but also impersonated to an insane degree. This goes far beyond the annoyance of having some shutterbug snap a photo when they’re trying to relax at a resort.

The other day a singer I follow on Twitter, Rosanne Cash, had her entire account recopied word for word, photo for photo. That account then followed me. My first reaction was hey neato Rosanne follows me now! But I looked more closely and figured out it was a fake. I reported it, and Twitter deleted it.

Why do people do that? To begin setting up scams. Most likely after fake-Rosanne amassed enough followers she’d begin flirting with some men, tell them she wanted to chat offline, and hit them up for money for whatever thing. They’d send money by PayPal and she’d disappear.

My reporting fake-Rosanne will probably accomplish nothing. She’ll try again. She’ll choose a different celeb. I reported another fake account a while back and it too was deleted. Twitter does take action ~ it also will get rid of those awful antisemitic Q accounts too if you report them. But there are so many that it’s hopeless.

I feel sorry for celebs now. Some actors like Scarlett Johansson are victimized by “deepfake porn,” videos that make it seem like they are really acting in porn movies. The technology is so good that these creeps can superimpose faces on other women’s bodies and apparently you can’t tell the difference. No one should have to put up with that in the name of “free speech.”

It’s all because of this idiotic idea that we should be able to access the internet anonymously and thus be completely unaccountable for our behavior. Get TOS’d? No problem. Make a new anon gmail and begin again. I’ve said before that I’m against anonymous speech and there are only more and more reasons piling up why it’s a bad thing. My view is we should have one ID, from say a fingerprint, that follows us everywhere online, no escape from our words and behavior.

No worries, you can still be a creepy troll… but everyone will know who you are right away. The nasty stalkers will still be able to dog their fave celebs and politicians all over Twitter in the name of free speech, and they can still be obnoxious and crude in the comments on Fox News, but we will know who they are and where they are the second they hit send. That will most likely make a lot of these jerks have second thoughts about blurting out their vile spew. Neither “little people” nor stars should have to put up with this continual harassment.

Before Cell Phones

We parted with enmity

And now he is gone,

Left without a kiss,

And sailed off at dawn.

I shall write him a letter,

Include a photograph too,

And stuff them in a bottle,

Toss them in waves of blue.

As he sails round the globe,

My love note behind him,

Fate may have to intervene,

For this message to find him.

~*~

The Friday Four

A Guy Called Bloke Production

1] Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

– I’m an introvert. But I’m not pathologically introverted ~ I don’t have anxiety about calling peeps on the phone or interacting in person, and I’ve even done a couple stand-up comedy routines. I just prefer not to. I like to be at home with my kitty, 🐱 writing in relative quiet. But I’ll do the other stuff from time to time, or even often, because life. Part of my issue with “doing things” isn’t being with people so much (though I do joke about that) ~ it’s being on the road. Traveling in a vehicle is very dangerous; there are around 30,000 deaths per year on the roads, not to mention injuries. That’s terrifying. I have a lot of anxiety about driving and other drivers, but I believe it’s quite justified.

2] What makes you feel complete, whole or accomplished?

– I enjoy office work. I like being thanked and knowing I helped get a project done. I also like completing an organizing or decluttering task and seeing all the things in their Rightful Places, whether at home or at work.

3] Do you judge a book by its cover?

– Sometimes I am guilty of this, in both directions. 😱

4] What’s the one thing that people always misunderstand about you?

– People take my fiction literally. Ah, if only I had done the all things I write about… what an interesting life that would have been! ✨

My First Mystery

… award that is!

A big thanks to Kristian for the nom. He has a very entertaining blog and it’s hard to believe it’s less than a year old!

The Rules:

1. Put the award logo on your blog. βœ…

2. List the rules. βœ…

3. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog. βœ…

4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well.❓

5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself. πŸ†—

6. Nominate 10-20 people. ⚠️

7. Notify your nominees. ⚠️

8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question. 🚫

9. Share a link to your best post(s). πŸ’€

Three Things:

1. I’ve never seen Titanic.

2. I’ve been wearing tights under pants because it’s so cold in SoCal.

3. I usually cry at other people’s sad animal stories, and sometimes at happy ones too.

Questions from Kristian:

1. Name something you like to see in a book, that makes you want to read further.

– A kitty or puppy.

2. What would make you want to stop reading a book?

– The author intruding with his/her political opinions in fiction.

3. If they produced the story of your life, what genre would it be?

– Medical: “A Cure for Insomnia” πŸ’€

4. If you could have a plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

– NorCal.

5. What advice would you like to give to your ten-year-old self?

– Go to Northwestern!

As for the rest, my nominees and questions, I shall use this handy-dandy card from Rory. πŸ˜€