When the driver suddenly turned left instead of right, I realized that… we were headed to The Twilight Zone. Not this again, I groaned to myself, but I would do my duty.
A break from reality held no attraction for me, not that my life was so fabulous, but even so I preferred truth to fiction. I mean, sure I’ve fantasized about what it would be like to be a wolf or whatever, but ultimately it was just too much work, not to mention the expense.
My annoyance subsided as I jumped into my tasks and searched the premises for code violations. I was indefatigable in my quest to find any deviation from the laws of magic set forth by the Wise Ones. I knew the WO would prefer to shut down the Zone, but as long as management complied with every arbitrary rule, the WO reluctantly let them continue to operate.
If I did find a transgression, I’d receive a huge bonus, so you can bet I left no crystal unturned, however distasteful this place was with all its creepy, cryptic vibes. But in an obscure storage room, it appeared that my persistence had paid off. As I inspected an almost empty bottle of mind-reading elixir, I noticed its expiration date had passed.
With branches full of magic, the weeping willow became our fantasy home, a fairy castle, a pirate ship, the possibilities were as endless as our imaginations. The soft grass sloped down to a winding creek, or maybe it was a moat, full of mossy stones, quick green frogs, and tiny silver darting fish, sparkling in the sun. Perhaps a roaring dragon might soar by in the dazzling azure sky.
Sometimes we were spies, looking for clues in the willow’s twisted trunk, or dealing cards on the scarred wooden picnic table, making up rules on the spot. Fueled with tuna salad and popsicles, watermelon and cheesy puffs, we’d stay out until the fireflies flickered in the purple twilight. It felt like a mystical oasis away from the real world, but it was just summer in New Jersey.
Treasured memories Glimmer through the veil of time Root us to the past
Dr. Tanya continues her Blogging Insights series by asking what type of writing I enjoy the most. Well, you know… that all depends on my mood.
For many years, I wrote a ton of free verse poetry where I took the jagged pieces of my broken heart and flung them onto the page like bloody confetti. You can find a lot of that cathartic work in my poetry collections on KDP. Fortunately for my mental health, I no longer feel destroyed by love, so these days my poetry tends to be rhyming and silly. It’s not as good, imo, but it reflects my current state of happiness. It still shocks me to admit that I’m happy! Shouldn’t I be wrecked by the state of the world and my own effed-up romantic relationships?
Besides silly rhymes, I enjoy writing flash fiction with a twist at the end. Sometimes it’s fun to dive into sci-fi or fantasy a bit; other times I’ll focus more on wordplay. Often, I include an animal in my fiction. For non-fic, I like to write about books, movies, music, family (including pets), games, and food. I still dig doing my Monday peeves and TGIF posts, which give readers a glimpse into my deranged mind life. Once in a while, I will blabber on about a current social or political issue, but that’s such a waste of time, so I try to avoid it.
In the distant past, I wrote erotica, but I’m just not motivated any longer. It’s annoying to have unfinished work in the cloud, so I keep saying I’m gonna get all those projects done, but meh. I do enjoy writing regular fiction, and I have been working on my book of long short stories again, and I should have it finished SOON. I hope.
For those interested in AI art, I downloaded the Bing app on my phone so I can create a new piece whenever the mood moves me. I have discovered that they keep adding new words to their bad list. Today it was fantasy (as in “fantasy landscape”) ~ I was warned that if I try using fantasy again I’ll be in Big Trouble. Last week it was gorilla. But before they decided gorilla was bad, I did this one.
Di @ Pensitivity101 continues her Truthful Tuesday series by asking what we would do if we were King or Queen for a day. I am sure some of the more virtuous bloggers are gonna put together impressive lists of good deeds to help humanity, but I’m more of the Alfred P. Doolittle school of philosophy: “They’re always throwing goodness at you, but with a little bit of luck a man can duck.”*
Thus, my first order of Queenly biz is to awaken to the scent of cookies baking and the dawn sky streaked with pink and peach and lavender. Someone serves me cinnamon coffee with cream, and I receive a fabulous massage, followed by a soak in a silky hot jacuzzi. Next is brunch of juicy, sweet mango slices, mini cucumber and avo sandwiches, and french fries with a spicy dipping sauce. Almond flavored tea, plus a couple of warm, fresh, chocolatey chip cookies, will round out this decadent repast.
After that, I shall get my hair and nails done and then spend a few enjoyable hours trying on gorgeous Royal gowns, shoes, and jewelry with a photog snapping flattering shots of me for the ‘gram. In the background, Elton John will be holding a concert of my favorite songs in my honor (not too loud though). When I am finished with the shoot, I will recline on a comfy velvet sofa as a parade of artwork is presented for my pleasure and poets recite inspiring verse to complement the paintings.
In the late afternoon, I will stroll through stunningly beautiful flower gardens as exotic birdies chirp from the trees (but do not poop) and dazzling butterflies flit around the vibrant blossoms. There will also be tigers and jaguars and other cool animals, but none dare to bite me, for I am the Queen. When I’m tired, a carriage drawn by sleek horses will magically appear to return me to the palace. There, a lovely dinner will have been prepared especially for me… probably mushroom pizza or maybe seafood pasta. OR BOTH!
After dins, I will be treated to a good comedy show that’s delightfully funny, held outdoors under a magnificently glorious sunset, and my final magisterial act will be to order my obedient subjects to BUY ALL MY BOOKS!
He stood there for a long time watching them through the window. Tommy knew it was Delilah because of the profile with that hourglass body and herdistinctive mane of curls. Sadly, he had expected this from the start because she had come across as fickle and shalloweven on their first date. What he hadn’t expected was to find his best friend hooking up with her. But there was Frank’s Beemer parked right in front of Delilah’s house with its personalized plate NVRENUF.
Never enough. Tommy considered the form his revenge might take and slipped the knife from his pocket, its silver blade gleaming in the early light. He realized he had been here all night, staring at the window long after the silhouettes had disappeared. They would awaken soon, he imagined, smile, kiss, make love again, and then she’d whip up a batch of her special pancakes. It just wasn’t fair! Tommy loved pancakes.
Tommy thought about the satisfaction he’d get from confronting them, or at least her. He touched the sharp blade of his knife and considered the repercussions of the brutal act circling through his fantasies. Then he remembered there was a diner down the street with all you can eat pancakes and real maple syrup. His tummy rumbled, so he put the knife away and headed off to breakfast.
1. OK, I said I wasn’t gonna, but I did anyway. Yep, I bought Spare (Prince Harry’s memoir), and I read the whole thing. Part of the reason was that it’s one of my book club selections for a weekend meetup, and I vastly prefer weekend events over getting together after work. The other part was simply sheer curiosity. For a while, I’d been feeling negatively toward the guy, as I kept seeing him in the news 24/7, which was annoying. And it was his fault, as he kept doing interviews and stuff. I lumped him in with the rest of the attention-seeking celebs and politicians, which wasn’t wrong.
Harry is trying to sell a brand (himself), and I’m more sympathetic to him doing that after reading the book. Bottom line: what the hell else was he supposed to do, become a car salesman? There is literally no “normal” job this man could take in order to provide for his family once he asked to step away from Royal duties. He is a target for terrorists, whether he’s helping at British charities or hanging out in California, and his wife and children are targets as well. The Royals knew that ~ perhaps they assumed he’d come crawling back because he’d need money, but he didn’t. Whoever is actually in charge of the Royals might have helped H&M and acknowledged their needs/issues, particularly with the press, but they refused.
That does not change the fact that it is super irritating to see any particular person dominate the news whether Elon or Jennifer or a POTUS or a Prince. It’s especially annoying after someone announces that he can’t bear the media and wants a private life. But no one is perfect, and one of the best things about Spare is that Harry doesn’t attempt to portray himself as flawless in any area. He owns up to being a “thicko” and making mistakes. I found him endearing despite myself because one of my favorite qualities in a person is the ability to be humble to the point of self-mockery. It’s the opposite of the cold, arrogant, know-it-all type that I cannot stand. I also found Harry’s military training and experience (a huge chunk of the book) to be interesting. The guy really wanted to be a soldier, and everything would have turned out differently if he’d been able to continue a military career instead of getting forced out every time his location was discovered. As I said, you can’t expect Prince Harry to be able to live a “normal” life under any circumstances. It’s impossible, sadly.
I recommend this book ~ I gave Spare five stars. Not only did I enjoy the content, but the narrative style was casual and fun.
2. Over the weekend, I finished The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. At first, I loved this novel, but it just went on too long, which I was afraid of when I saw that it was almost 500 pages. At around the 75% point, I began to find the story tedious. I still wanted to find out how it ended, so I read until the very last word, but I found myself resenting the author for not cutting some of the dreck. There were too many unnecessary side stories and minor characters that added nothing of value.
I liked the historical context and the meticulous research that Wecker obviously undertook to depict not only New York City in the early 19th century but also ancient Syria; I also dug the mystical/magical elements up to a point. After a while though, I felt that there were too many arbitrary rules and “outs” for these elements, like some kind of Kabbalistic Calvinball. It got on my nerves. Regardless, kudos to Wecker for coming up with a very different story from the usual.
“Once a golem develops a taste for destruction,” the old rabbi said, “little can stop it save the words that destroy it. Not all golems are as crude or stupid as this one, but all share the same essential nature. They are tools of man, and they are dangerous. Once they have disposed of their enemies they will turn on their masters. They are creatures of last resort. Remember that.” ~ The Golem and the Jinni, page 127
The above is my favorite quote from the book, and it makes me think about other creations of man, such as AI. Anyway, I gave the book four stars and recommend it, even though it’s too long.
Generally speaking, genies prefer gentlemen, which as we all know are hard to find. So when Jeannie found one, who was named Major Nelson, naturally her sister (also named Jeannie) insisted that they share him. When Jeannie1 gently declined to share, Jeannie2 announced that she was not being generous and that was no way to treat your sibling. Jeannie2 proceeded to engage in all manner of tricks to steal Major Nelson from Jeannie1, making Jeannie1 wonder if they really were genetically related, as the two genies were so very different. But unfortunately Jeannie1 was no genius, and neither was Major Nelson, so Jeannie2 found a way to make him believe that she was the genuine Jeannie1. She trapped Jeannie1 in her bottle and threw her back in the ocean.
“I’ve got the major,” Jeannie2 called to her sister as the bottle disappeared beneath the waves. “But maybe next time you’ll meet a general!”
“What’s that thing?” Edna pointed to the nest on the kitchen counter. “Is it a joke gift from your retirement party? A golden egg. Is it going to hatch into magic beans? Ha ha.”
Erwin hung his head in embarrassment. “No, dear. It’s actually the real gift. They ran out of gold watches and grabbed this from the prop room. I heard someone whisper that it was stolen from a movie set in India.”
His wife huffed as she prepared their coffee. “The nerve of those cheapskates! You were on the cusp of creating that new show too. What was it called again?”
“Rendezvous with Royalty,” Edwin said. “But my manager took credit for the idea, and it’s in that internet gossip columnalready with her name on it. Don’t be upset, dear. This is the way of the world.”
Edna angrily grabbed her coffee cup, and hot liquid spilled out and splashed onto the nest. “Oh no! I’m sorry! I ruined your gift.”
The couple watched in horror as a network of cracks formed over the golden egg, and a clawed hand appeared. Something struggled to escape from the shell.
Edwin put his arm around his trembling wife and urged her toward the door. “Let’s get out of here!”
But before they could leave, a golden dragon the size of a parrot flew in front of them in a cloud of glittering smoke. “Greetings, new master and mistress,” it intoned, in a voice reminiscent of David Attenborough. “How may I serve you?”
When I dream of you, I dive into the impossibly blue sea where everything is fantasy. I am perfect there, a bejeweled mermaid, tail scales glistening, streams of pearls in my hair. You love me perfectly in this azure paradise, where all that was impossible becomes real, the scales of judgment swept from your lazuline eyes.
When I wake, I am impossibly blue, streams of tears dripping from my eyes. All that was possible is impossible, as unreachable as the stars in the lazuline sky. Pearls of rain bead upon the windowpane, forming a glistening tale of possibilities denied.