Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Will there be a third voice? A third person limited point of view? An omniscient narrator to pick up everything our protagonists cannot see or know?
Or does our story play out in tandem?
And we need a title. Send suggestions please. And send them soon.
Part two by Susan Dellert
A pale pink light filtered through my eyelids as the sun entered my bedroom.
Mornings always hold such a mysterious promise of fresh beginnings mixed with the certainty of unexpected events. Taking a moment to enjoy the cozy cocoon of my sleep warmed sheets, I stretched languidly. Dressing quietly in the near dawn darkness I thought of the fields surrounding this old shotgun shack, awakening also, as the sun heated the night's dew from the crops. I made my way through the sleeping house without disturbing even the cats. The breath of spring greeted me through the open door as I walked toward the front hall. The moisture in the air beginning to cling to my skin as I pushed open the screen-door. I slipped soundlessly onto the damp grey boards of the porch, easing it to the frame silently behind me. The morning was so mild, the day so fresh, it felt odd to keep on my boots, let alone my heavy jeans. Each step off the porch and into the day took my mind as far from the house as my body, leaving the gossamer door behind.
The greenness of the Earth opened my senses and a gentle glow of peace filled my spirit. As the warmth of the soil and air passed through my bare skin I let my muscles relax. The sensation of calm glided up my legs and brought with it harmony. I sensed the Ancient Ones all around me, greeting me, as I greeted the day. Stretching as I arched back, reaching at each side for the distant oaks, I gave my face, my self, fully to the sun.
I slowed my breathing and tried to be perfectly still to hold on to the moment, but a movement at the end of my driveway flickered across my sightline. My ancestor's spirits evaporated and my thoughts shifted to the person walking up the long, tree lined path from the road.
It was too early for any of the volunteers to be arriving to work the plots, so I stepped back into the shade of the porch and awaited the arrival of today's first unplanned occurrence. As the figure approached it became clear it was a man, from the way he sauntered slowly with shoulders erect, to the firmness of his gait. I was at first, unable to make out any features of his face. He took his hands out of his jacket pockets as he came to the steps and when he looked up at me, the color of his eyes made it hard for me to focus. They danced with a golden amber as perhaps a wolf's or coyote's would. I realized he was speaking and pulled my mind from his eyes to his voice
"...and I sure would appreciate if I could borrow it," was how he finished. Not having a clue as to how he had begun his sentence, I decided to stall.
"I haven't had breakfast yet, would you like some coffee?" was the best I could do. The surprise registered on his face but was quickly replaced with a blush and a smile. Not waiting for his response, I turned and headed into the house. Holding the screen door open for him as an invitation, I faced him and looked again into those eyes and barely heard him as he spoke.
"Thank you," was all he said, as I put a finger to my lips. He silently followed me through the long center hallway toward the kitchen. The moist morning air smelled of herbs here, smelled of sunlight. I reached for a large blue kettle to make the promised coffee, filled it with water from the ceramic crock next to the counter, and, placing it on a front burner, struck the match and touched beneath the kettle, turning the knob and watching the flames grace the edge of the enameled bottom.
I worked, as I normally do, in silence, as if having him there were completely natural. As though he belonged. I made no attempt to engage him in conversation, making only occasional intense eye contact. That deep concentrated gaze said more than any words could. His eyes never left mine, his attention never left my face. Yet I felt at ease, having this unexpected visitor, who seemed not so much a stranger, watch me prepare a meal. And as he watched, silent as I, comfortable as I, the heady aroma of coffee filled the kitchen.
How strange, after so many years, to have this morning captured in crystalline perfection in my memory. Every scent, each breath, is replayed without hesitation as I recall our first encounter.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
To my great surprise, most of you wanted to immediately kill our just introduced character in a pique of now-for-something-completely-differentness or have her slowly tortured to death. I must agree with one of our readers: I can think of much better things to do with her in the early morning field.
And so the ideas came in as comments and emails. I must thank Connor for some off the best ideas so far. And not one of them had to do with dismemberment.
One of you, however, did much better and actually continued the story. Bravo!
Jason Ard picked up where I left off and brought to our story a new background and set of skills to inform his writing. And in a great direction it is going. I look forward to Jason writing more.
Our story starts off looking as though it is in third-person omniscient (mind-reading fly on the wall) and then it becomes clear it is in first person. Jason picked up on that and introduced our narrator to the world into what might be considered an embarrassing situation. His character is certainly one I’d not have thought of. Does he approach or doesn’t he?
That seems up to you. Let’s continue our story. Take a stab, (but not literally please) and send me a portion. Let’s make something unexpected happen. Let’s make something meaningful happen. Let’s make something fictional seem real.
You never know what we might do with it.
Read (and write) on.
She woke in the early April dawn to do as she did nearly every morning during the growing seasons: to walk outside into the air and look out over the acres, to walk lovingly, maternally, through the field to see what was sprouting, what was blooming, what was today becoming ripe.
She was a caretaker to this land, this small farm. Not far from Gainesville, this was a community garden, barely a farm, really, at five acres. She took care of the comings and goings of the volunteers, the implements, the irrigation, and kept watch always. In return she lived here, with a few others, in this small house, took what she needed from the land—and a bit extra to sell at the Saturday farmers’ market—and had her utilities and rent paid by the monthly fee charged to those with plots to garden. And each morning, overall and each row, she surveyed the land.
And like every other morning, she pulled off her covers, pulled on her dungarees and her socks, and silently padded out of the bedroom to the open front door, where she put on her workboots and opened the screen door to walk out onto the porch, carefully closing it behind her by hand so it would not slam.
Standing for a moment on the porch, she looked out ahead and to either side at the trees bordering the greened furrows. Three steps down from the wide porch placed her nearly at the foot of the field, to plant her outspread feet on the soil, stretching her arms wide, raising her palms, face, and chest to meet the rising sun, open wide to the world.
She was surprised, as she nearly always was, by the warm moistness of the barely dawn air. Recognition of such air, at this time of year, was not in her genes. Back home, in the mountains of north Georgia, she would walk outside, just as she did here, to feel the cool air shrink and pull tight her skin while the sun slowly warmed her, the air, the ground, all things. It was a curious but common juxtaposition of opposites she had grown not only accustomed to but comforted by; the quick contraction and slow expansion of her own skin, her body, and the world.
It was on just such a morning that I met her.
By Jason Ard
I had left my SUV parked near the end of the driveway, and approached quietly out of respect for the morning.
I had rifled the contents of the truck. Being my mother’s son, I had filled the truck with tools and gadgets. I did not bother to unpack any of the packages from between the seats. I knew those would contain frying pans, the inflatable kayak, the tent, and the fishing tackle. None of these would be of any particular help this morning, unless I wanted set up camp here on the side of the road.
I figured I had all the stuff I needed to avert any crisis of reasonable scale. My mother had probably invented the concept of Eagle Scout in a past life; she was always prepared. I strove to fulfill the image, but this situation would be like so many others in my past, and I was lacking the one crucial ingredient to make the only possible plan effective. Still, I consider myself a capable man, and all I needed was a little assistance, here.
I walked up the drive looking at my old, beat-up cowboy boots, and thinking of what I might say to whomever would answer the door when I knocked. Something polite would be a good start, “Good morning, I was wondering if you could help me?” Or, “Hi, I’m broke down at the end of your driveway….” Interesting how nothing really seems to fit when you’re running stuff through your head.
The smell of freshly tilled soil broke my thoughts and I looked up toward the house. There she stood, just off the porch steps, head tilted back and arms outstretched, as if she were a goddess greeting the morning sun. Was I really going to ask this beauty if I could borrow a jack?
Is he? Can he? What happens next? What would you do? Write the next part of our story and let's all find out what happens when we get fictional.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Ah, but I am cynical, ‘tis true. I was asked to attend as a performer and perform I did, reading poetry in front of the Melbourne Auditorium, poking people into handing me money to shut up. And pay me for silence they did. It is amazing to me what people will throw money at.
Beth sang. Jack played guitar and I annoyed people with poetry. Evanne was the world’s tiniest mime and amazing as such. Against an invisible wall she pushed. I got behind her to lend the mime a hand and push her though. She was as solid against a non-existent wall as I would have been against the side of a building. The lady broke the laws of physics. Or she has super powers.
Becca made friends with a Marionette in the form of a blue duck. There really isn't much else I can say about that.
Lee was there as a member of the Chamber of Commerce. She wore a dress. An actual dress. Her mother practically had to force her to take it last year. She refused repeatedly. Tonight she was glad to have it.
Putting it on took her a while. Makeup took longer. She kept messing up. I guess if one does something only once a year, at most, one cannot expect skill and proficiency.
Lee got to go in and eat. I stood outside reading poetry. It was in the forties. Did I mention that before? It was nippy. Lee kept coming outside to feed me tuna. By the end of the first hour, I felt like a pampered, but, nonetheless, outside cat.
Once inside, we found a table and staff started passing by us with trays. This must be the food, we thought. Chicken and tuna, coffee, tea, meatballs, salad. We grabbed what we wanted, tried some food, put some down, sat and talked as the crowd gathered, big band music filled the ex-hangarish room, black tie and coats arrived escorted by diamond necklaces, black gowns and couture.
There was music too, up on the stage. A band performed a mix of jazz, standardsand swing. It is a good thing Valerie wasn't there or I certainly would have foundmyself up and dancing with those dozen or so of the few hundreds who were noteating what they could glean from the trays as they passed.
Then an announcement.
The procession of the chefs. What? One hundred and forty chefs would soon be bringing us thee signature dishes. So that stuff we had wasn’t the food? We tried comestibles we didn’t know existed, foodstuffs stuffed in other foods in combinations we thought un-natural. I don’t really know how much we ate because so much of it we tried a bit of and put down. Some was too good not to finish. Thank the gods the portions were miniscule.
We both start a cleanes on Monday.
While there I said something that made my wife smile. Let’s have a picture taken. You can see the results here. It is one of only a handful of pictures of us together. I actually like it, bless my heart.
The picture you next see is a movie promotional poster for the last film I was in. When I see that poster, I think of a one and zero domino.
Next we see my new promo material. This was created by the pure benevolent genius of Craig R. Smith at Smithcraft Press who, I am delighted, proud, astonished, befuddled and amazed to say is my publisher. If you have a chance, visit his blog, Notes from the Dreamtime. If you don’t have the time, do it anyway.
It is worked up for the release of my upcoming book, The Phoenix and the Dragon: Poems of the Alchemical Transformation. I looked at this material and couldn’t help but to exclaim “who is this guy?” I further suggested, if I were him, I’d find this fellow and publish him.
When did I do all this? When did that happen? No wonder I’m tired.
All of it, I am delighted to say, done with good friends all along the way.
So, here is something you rarely see. Pictures of me, my wife, my son Alek, family, and those friends of mine who would stand still long enough to have a picture taken. Bless every one of them.
Monday, February 05, 2007
I enjoy writing on assignment. I have embarked recently on the writing of screenplays and spent a portion of my last li’l ol’ movie playing script doctor. I had such fun with it I decided to stop playing with it and start actually doing it. Although, frankly, it still feels like play. That is a great thing.
And great and fervent play it has been, too. Twice a week, and often far later into the night than I might have believed it was or i would normally work, I have sat with Melissa and her script. In my blue room with coffee, milk and moonshine, space-heater humming next to my books. At Van Gogh’s Café when I should be paying attention to acting class, concurrent and even cospatial. Writing has lately been time-bending. Writing screenplays has been space-warping as well and I work in a dimension within a dimension. Talk about fun!
And so I discover the joys of helping another person’s idea come to life. But, below, is my idea. Or at least an idea delivered to me. But where to bring it next?
And so I am looking to you to judge. You tell me. What should happen next? Should anything happen at all? Should I hit the delete key or have her find treasure in her spacious back yard? What is to be done with this unexpected gift?
And maybe it’ll end up an assignment.
She woke in the early April dawn to do as she did nearly every morning during the growing seasons; to walk outside, into the air and look out over the acres, to walk lovingly, maternally, through the field to see what was sprouting, what was blooming, what was today becoming ripe.
She was a caretaker to this land, this small farm. Outside of Gainesville, a community garden, barely a farm, really, at five acres. She took care of the comings and going of the volunteers, the implements, the irrigation, and kept watch always. In return she lived here, with a few others, in this small house, took what she needed from the land, a bit extra to sell at the Saturday farmers’ market, and had her utilities and rent afforded by the monthly fee paid by those with plots to garden. And each morning, overall and each row, she surveyed the land.
And like every other morning, she pulled off her covers, pulled on her dungarees, her socks and silently padded out of the bedroom to the open front door where she put on her workboots and opened the screen door to walk out onto the porch, careful about closing it behind her by hand so it would not slam.
Standing for a moment on the porch she looked out ahead and to either side at the trees bordering the greened furrows. Three steps down from the wide porch placed her nearly at the foot of the field, to plant her outspread feet on the soil, stretching her arms wide, raising her palms, face and chest to meet the rising sun, open wide to the world.
She was surprised, as she nearly always was, by the warm moistness of the barely dawn air. Recognition of such air, at this time of year, was not in her genes. Back home, in the mountains of North Georgia, she would walk outside, just as she did here, to feel the cool air shrink and pull tight her skin at the same time the sun would slowly warm her, the air, the ground. All things. It was a curious but common juxtaposition of opposites she had grown not only accustomed to but comforted by; the quick contraction and slow expansion of her own skin, her body and the world.
It was on just such a morning I met her.