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Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 18

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Missed a few chapters? Email me to catch up. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….


Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 18

“Tabitha!” Shelley pushed past the men, slapping their hands off as they tried to stop her. The grade was steeper than it looked, but she leaned back and kept going, zig-zagging down the hill to slow her momentum. Heavy footsteps pounded behind her and Dillon called her name. Why did he want her to stop? Why wasn’t he rushing down to help his friend too?

A distinct coppery smell wafted past her on the breeze, followed by the smell of rotting meat. She refused to believe Tabby was dead. She couldn’t be. Not after all they’d done together. All they still had left to do. She just…couldn’t be dead.

“Shelley, you have to stop! Look across the fire!”

Dillon’s voice finally penetrated and she looked up, seeing nothing across the firepit except another hill, that one covered in trees and shrouded in the dimness of a forest in daytime. Just a few more steps and she’d be right next to Tabby…

Just then, she saw the glowing eyes. Smelled the stench of rotten meat, and knew it wasn’t coming from either of their friends.

Bear-breath was much, much worse than she’d ever bothered to imagine. And those eyes were fixed straight ahead, locked onto her as a long tongue licked drool from black jowels.

A shot rang out from somewhere behind her and the eyes and muzzle went sideways. The animal grunted and the earth vibrated as his body hit the ground with a solid thud.

Shelley couldn’t take her eyes off the beast. It was bigger than she’d thought a black bear would be, and she imagined a breath, maybe two even though the shot had run right through the head. When a heavy hand fell on her shoulder, she nearly jumped out of her skin and gasped.

“Just me. The bear’s dead. Are you okay?”

She finally turned her head to see the concern in Dillon’s eyes. Swallowing hard past the lump in her throat, she nodded.

“Who shot it?”

Dillon pointed to John, now standing way too close to that carcass for comfort.

“He circled out the moment you started running — hit the hill full speed and didn’t stop until he found his mark. Thank God.”

A low groan from the bodies on the ground pulled them both back to the reason they were there in the first place, and Shelley whirled around, kneeling on the ground beside Tabitha while Dillon went to Mike.

“Tabby? Are you okay? Wake up — talk to me!” Shelley grabbed her shoulder and gently pulled Tabby from her stomach to her back, earning another groan in the process.

“Shelley?” Tabby blinked up at her, but didn’t seem to see her. “Is that really you? You’re like a mirage. All fuzzy or wavy or something…” Her head lolled to the side and Shelley gave the rest of Tabby’s body a quick glance, expecting the blood to be on her torso. But it wasn’t.

“Tabitha — wake up Tabby! What happened to your leg?” When she got no response, Shelley put two fingers to the side of Tabby’s neck and prayed.

Her heart was beating, but it seemed weak. Shelley moved to look at the wound on her leg, and that’s when she realized that the putrid smell she’d been trying to ignore wasn’t bear breath, but rather a long, obviously infected gash across Tabby’s thigh.

“Oh God,” she breathed, wondering how long the two had been laying in this spot. The wound was dirty, and…were those maggots?

Momentarily at a loss for what to do, she glanced over at Dillon and Mike, now on his back too. Mike’s wounds were considerably more substantial — long gashes across his chest, and apparently in worse shape than Tabby’s.

“What do we do?” she asked, looking helplessly at Dillon. “I don’t even know how to help.”


Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 19!

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Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 17

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Missed a few chapters? Email me to catch up. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….


Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 17

“Got something!”

Shelley and Dillon both turned as the man just above them appeared in the trees. He was waving at them, motioning them to join him. Dillon stood and offered Shelley a hand. When she took it, her eyes met his and he smiled. He may have pulled a little harder than necessary when he helped her up, but she didn’t complain when she stumbled against his chest.

Neither did he, she noticed.

The second guy came running from up below the trail and just kept running past. Shelley frowned.

“Come on.” Dillon took a step back, but still kept her hand in his. “Let’s go see what they found.”

Shelley followed him up through the underbrush and tried not to think about what they might find. It was almost anticlimatic when they reached the other two, and saw nothing out of the ordinary.

“What are we looking at, John?” Dillon asked. The man held out his hand, palm up, to reveal a heart-shaped locket Shelley had never seen before.

“That’s not Tabby’s,” she said, a glimmer of relief easing the tighteness in her chest. “It’s not hers. Someone else must have lost it.”

She glanced at Dillon, and saw the tightness in his jaw as he reached out to pick up the locket.

“It’s Mike’s. He keeps a picture of his mother and his daughter in there, and carries it in his pocket.” He put it in his own pocket. “He was definitely up here then. Any signs of where they might have blazed a trail?”

John nodded. “Broken branches and scuffed dirt all over the place. I hiked a little ways back and found blood, but it looks like they’re covering it as they go. Probably trying to confuse any prey animals who might be after a meal.”

“Would that work?” Shelley asked, earning three rather dubious stares.

“Probably not,” John answered. “But won’t hurt either. Just makes it a little harder to tell when the bleeding started and stops. But we’ll be able to follow the trail. Are you ready?”

Dillon looked at Shelley. “Are you sure you want to do this? I think we’re getting close, and no one would blame you if you wanted to wait back at camp….”

“I should smack you for that,” she replied, moving past him. “I’m going. Come on.”

John took the lead again and Dillon fell into step by Shelley. “I didn’t mean to insult you,” he said as they walked, watching the path appear almost magially as John cleared broken branches and dirt piles out of the way.

It wasn’t long before they saw the smoke. Practically running, they made it over the next rise just to see an impromptu campsite at the bottom and two people laying motionless beside a dying fire.


Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 18!

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Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 16

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Missed a few chapters? Email me to catch up. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….


Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 16

The day was beautiful as Shelley trekked across the mountainside with Dillon and the others. Too pretty, really, she thought, her gaze drifting across tall grasses swaying around blooming flowers, tall trees rattling their leaves, and the occasional tiny woodland creature darting back into hiding. Didn’t nature know her friend was missing, and probably hurt? Why was everything so…normal?

She’d first caught the sound of running water fifteen minutes back, faint in the distance. It was getting louder now, and her tired steps quickened, anxious to reach the old ranger station. If Dillon was right, Tabby was close, and maybe they weren’t too late.

Though it seemed like a long way to travel from the bear carcass.

Lots of questions, and the only two people with the answers were out here somewhere, waiting for help.

“Hold up.” The man in front stopped, and Shelley about ran into Dillon’s back. Stepping to the side, she looked around him at the leader, and then just beyond.

Across the next clearing was a wooden shack — or the remains of one, anyway. The roof had collapsed and was partially in, partially out of what was left of the gray plank walls. The fallen structure wasn’t capable of providing shelter any longer. Firewood was about all it was good for now.

“This doesn’t make sense,” Shelley said. “If Mike knew about this place, then he would have known they were close to the trail when he killed the bear. They would have gone the other way, toward camp, not farther up the mountain.”

The three men all looked at her for a long moment.

“What about the sweatshirt? We found it first, closer to the camp…” Dillon’s voice trailed off as the words came out, and understanding widened his eyes. “She took the sweatshirt off after, maybe used it to try to stop the bleeding. Though we don’t know if she was the one injured or Mike.”

One of the other men frowned. “If they were headed back toward camp, they should have been there by now. Before we left, actually. What the hell happened to them?”

“Only way to find out is to find them.” Dillon breathed a heavy sigh. “And we’ve been looking in the wrong direction for over an hour. Let’s head back to where the sweatshirt was, and we’ll figure out how to proceed from there.”

When they finally reached the correct site, Shelley collapsed on a fallen log, almost as good as a favorite recliner after a hard day.

“I can’t imagine what they were feeling like when they stopped here,” she said, speaking slowly as she tried to catch her breath. “Actually, I can’t believe they made it all the way here, considering one of them is hurt. That’s quite a jaunt just from the attack site. Is that even possible with a bad injury?”

Dillon shrugged, taking a seat beside her. “You’d be surprised by what a good shot of adrenaline can do. But it is pretty amazing they made it this far. Shock would have been setting in for someone hurt and bleeding that badly. It is odd that we didn’t notice any bloodstains or drops between here and there though. There should be some sign of them passing through, and it’s like they were just picked up there and dropped here.”

Shelley sat up a little straighter. “Or, they didn’t use the trail. Maybe they were confused, or avoiding the trail for some reason.”

“I’ll check for some sort of sign above the trail,” one of the other men offered. He pointed to the fourth man. “Why don’t you check below the trail?” The other man nodded and they set out, leaving Dillon and Shelley to rest.

“Are those guys rambo or something?” Shelley was only half-kidding. “They don’t seem to ever get tired.”

Dillon’s lips turned up in a small smile. “They’ve probably had more sleep than us.” His smile faded, and he cocked his head to the side, giving her a searching look. “They weren’t in a car wreck just the other day either. How are you feeling? You must be in a lot of pain with all the walking…”

Shelley shrugged. “It hurts here and there, but nothing I can’t handle. It actually hurt less when we were moving. Mind over matter, I guess.” She looked away, her gaze drifting over the small clearing. “You’d think it would be easy to find someone these days, with all the technology at our disposal. But here we are, searching a mountain for two people who could be anywhere. You’d think there was a better way to do this.”

Dillon was quiet for a long moment, and she wasn’t sure he was even listening. Then he looked up, eyes wide and face flushed.

“Maybe there is,” he said, putting two fingers in his mouth and letting out a long, loud whistle. “We need to get back to the camp.”


Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 17!

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This & That

I’m running late again (imagine that, right?), so just bullet-points for now. I’ll pick one of these for a deeper discussion/exploration next week. Or later this week, maybe. I do have Wednesday off work…

– Took my Note tablet apart last week, pulled the battery, and it’s running fine now (check last week’s blog for that saga).
– My new tea kettle works great (whew!)
– Went for two bike rides this weekend, a short one around the (very hilly) neighborhood Saturday, and then 6.7 miles (round trip) on Sunday to visit my parents. Good exercise, that, and pretty darn fun, too.
– Posted what I think is a pretty interesting discussion topic and writing prompts on the BSB blog today.
– Scheduled excerpts to post on my alter-ego sites this week, and I’ve discovered a couple of stories that need minimal editing/work to be ready for publishing from those two. Stay tuned…
– Next tattoo appointment is this Wednesday at 1pm. I’ll be getting poison bottles put on my inner arm, which is probably going to hurt a lot but it’s gonna look really cool. Pictures soon! I took Weds morning off work too…because I can.
– Graduation party Saturday for a friend’s kid who’s graduating Sunday. And of course, next Monday is a holiday. Yay!

That’s what’s goin’ on! Mostly.

Serial Story: Rattlesnake Falls, Book 1, Ch. 15

This serial story is posted one chapter per week on Fridays, in unedited (draft) form. It may contain adult situations that might not be suitable for children. Missed a few chapters? Email me to catch up. Thanks for reading, and enjoy! 

No, I still haven’t decided on the title. One should come to me eventually. Just gotta keep writing….


Rattlesnake Falls Book 1

Chapter 15

Turning her back to the wall, Shelley slid down to sit on the floor. Her whole body was shaking — she couldn’t help it. Dillon sat down beside her but she didn’t look at him.

The image was burned into her mind. Even in the dim hall light, she’d seen the big dark stain on the front of Tabby’s shirt. Cuts and slashes seared through it like grill marks, and all Shelley could think about was what kind of an animal could have done that, and whether Tabby could have survived it or not.

Or anyone, for that matter.

“She’s dead, isn’t she?” Her small, shaky voice sounded foreign even to Shelley’s own ears.

Dillon put an arm around her, pulling her into his side. “We don’t know that. People have sustained some very rough treatment and still lived to tell the tale. Don’t give up on her yet.”

Shelley nodded against his chest, soaking in the warmth of his comfort for a few more seconds. Then she gently pushed away, swiping the tears off her face and getting to her feet.

“There’s no way I can sleep now — not when she’s out there hurt and in pain. We have to find her, Dillon. What can we do now? Check maps and make a plan for first light? Go scouting the trail? I need to do something. I can’t just sit here.”

He got to his feet as well. “I know. Mike’s still out there too. I hope he’s with Tabitha, and that they’re somewhere safe tonight. Let’s go back down to the command room and see what we can figure out. I promise we’ll leave at first light to explore the section of trail where her shirt was found.”

Shelley nodded. “I’ll get my shoes.”

A few hours later when the sun was just barely peeking over the horizon, she shouldered a pack full of supplies, turned her headlamp on and followed Dillon and three other men through the woods and down a narrow trail that wound back and forth across the side of the mountain. The birds had a lot to say, it seemed, and the hiking was anything but quiet. There was an old, earthy quality to the fragrance each step kicked up, mingled with the fresh scent of pine needles and the occasional not-so-fresh smell of scat. If she hadn’t been desperate to find Tabitha and the guy she’d run from, Shelley might actually have enjoyed the walk.

They passed the spot where the sweatshirt was found about an hour into the hike, but a thorough examination revealed absolutely nothing. Not even blood droplets leading away from the site.

The sun was finally warming through the trees when the man in front called a halt. She looked ahead past Dillon to see why, and it was immediately obvious.

“Oh God,” she muttered, coveringher mouth with one hand. “Is that –?”

“Black bear,” Dillon said, moving to block her view. “Looks like someone killed it. Human, not animal. Mike usually has a hunting knife on him, but he wouldn’t do something like this unless  he had no other choice.”

“Like saving Tabby.”

He nodded. “We’re not too far from an old ranger cabin close to the creek. He might have taken her there if he had the strength.”

“Any idea which way that cabin is, Sir?” One of the men had a compass out, and the other was searching the bushes for a possible trail leading out.

“It’s been awhile, but I think I can find it. I’m pretty sure the creek is north-east from here, so that might be a good place to start.”


Thanks for reading! Check back next week for Chapter 16!

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Poem-A-Day Challenge: Week 4 (Final!)

Whew! National Poetry Month is over, and while it was a good learning and habit-forming experience, I have to say, I’m glad it’s over. Of course I didn’t do this alone – Carol R. Ward also wrote a poem every day in April, and she wrote a different form every day as well. It’s her fault I did this, if you recall correctly. I can’t decide if I owe her lunch or she owes me, at this point…but I can say with confidence that we’re both glad to be done.

Without further ado, the last week’s worth of poems, for your perusal, amusement, and/or heavy sighs/groans (it’s okay – they’re drafts – you think I’m not groaning at some of these too?):

Saturday, 4/22: The Storm

Sometimes you see the dark clouds forming,
sometimes you don’t.
Sometimes there’s a sputter, a drizzle, a warning,
sometimes the downpour just starts.

It feels cosmic, the uncanny knack
of catching you unaware.
One moment you’re settled, content, relaxed,
the next you’re gasping for air.

The eye is a tease, a time to rest,
or prepare for
whatever darkness is coming up next.
If you can catch your breath.

The storm is alive, a powerful call,
to survive everyday,
It lives, it breathes, it mocks us all,
whose plans have gone astray.

Sunday, 4/23: The Big Question

Why does “bad” exist?
asked the boy one day
to a woman he thought of as wise.
Why can’t we all just be good?
he mused, as they sat there and
looked at the sky.

Without bad there’s no good,
she answered, staring up
into the blue.
Without bad it would all just be same,
she mused, and I’m not quite
sure what we would do.

Think of how happy we’d be,
he said. No more murder
or theft or fear.
Think of the things we could do,
he mused, without worry of
how they’ll appear.

Life doesn’t work quite that way,
she said. Consider the
basics of earth.
Life must have balance or
cease, she mused. Without
sadness there is no mirth.

Bad gives us choice, a decision,
she said. It gives us the
freedom to choose.
Bad gives us contrast and balance,
she mused. Without that, the
earth would collapse.

So bad is good?
the boy asked, resignation
accenting his voice.
So what do we do,
the boy mused to himself.
How do we keep ourselves sane?

Look at the sky and clouds,
she said. Keep an eye
on what’s healthy and good.
Look inward and choose to
be good, she mused. Be the
balance to “bad” everyday.

Monday, 4/24: Nesting Crows

Through the nearly naked branches
they flit and wobble and jump.
Little black revelers on a hunting party
for the perfect, breakable twig.

They laugh and flap and carry on,
flying off now and again.
One perfect stick is all three of them need
to celebrate a suitable win.

Tuesday, 4/25: Eleven Things

I see you standing there
judging me silently.
What is it this time?
My lack of forced smile,
my bare face,
my disregard for titles and accomplishments?

Maybe it’s my tattoos, but
that seems so cliche.
My non-designer clothes,
my metal-filled ears?
Or just my
general distain for the endless small-talk loop.

I laugh too loud,
or not enough,
snicker at all the
wrong things but
I just take
everything far too serious, too literal, too thoughtful.

I know where I
fall short, why I
don’t fit in, how I
could change.
But I am who I am. Like who I am. Just gotta be me.

Wednesday, 4/26: Tick-Tock

Tick-tock, tick-tock,
I stare, and type, and stare some more.
Backspace is a fickle friend.

Tick-tock, tick-tock,
I rush to get ready for work and more.
Showers are a friendly devil.

Tick-tock, tick-tock,
I work and think and work some more.
Money is a devilish master.

Tick-tock, tick-tock,
I always end up racing the clock.
Perhaps I should stop.

Thursday, 4/27: Relief

Days like this I
long to be
up on a mountain,
under the trees.

Perched atop a
bold old rock,
watching a meadow,
maybe a fox.

Smelling the earth,
feeling the breeze,
hearing the waterfall
just through the leaves.

It’s peaceful here,
though nature is loud.
My soul finds peace in
the absence of crowds.

When darkness falls
and stars shine bright,
I’ll lay in the meadow
and drink in the night.

Friday, 4/28: Red & The Wolf

You’re a good granddaughter, going out
in the cool evening air,
basket of fresh baked breads in hand,
maybe a pie or two.

Your red cloak is bright against brown
bark, a beacon
of aid as you travel the well worn path
under the forest trees.

It’s quieter tonight — no birdsong
or insect buzzing.
The hair on your arms rises, the beat of
your heart quickens.

You drop your basket at the sight of
claw marks on the door.
You rush inside, a red streak that
matches grandmother’s blood.

He growls low, the wolf you thought
beautiful in the forest.
He waits half-under the flowery nightgown your
mother made, torn and stained.

It’s too late to run, you know. You
close your eyes
as he moves near, rotten, copper-tinged breath
hot on your face.

Your red cloak flutters to the floor,
shredded
as the huntsman approaches.
Is there life after death for you?

Saturday, 4/29: Through a Dog’s Eye

Sittin’ in the backyard,
squirrel up a pine tree,
being really quiet so
the little dude don’t see me.

Chompin’ on some tall grass,
actin’ all casual.
Sneakin’ in the garden ‘cause
it’s no place for an animal.

Maybe we’ll go walkin’ later
but I’m kinda lazy so…
might pretend to go along
and dig my heels in half-way home.

Layin’ on the patio,
see a kitty-cat go by.
Gotta chase him outta here,
kiss that furry tail goodbye!

Sittin’ in the backyard,
squirrel up a pine tree…

Sunday, 4/30: Poem 30

One month of poems,
thirty days in all,
a challenge,
a dare,
a siren’s grave call.

Poems about feathers,
of silence and noise,
of nature
and nurture,
of sorrows and joys.

A change in perspective,
new focus each day,
more words,
new skills,
better habits for May.

The poetry challenge
is done now, it’s true,
pen down,
notebook closed,
‘til once more it calls you.

*****************************************************

Did you write any poetry this month? Better yet – did you read any?

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Week 3

Whew! I kept up better this week, but I’m not sure the poems are any better (and some of the daily prompts were…difficult, as you might be able to tell from a few of the poems).

One more week to go – and next week’s post will be up sometime Sunday, as that’s the last day of the challenge (that way I can post the full week’s poems together).


Saturday, 4/15: Rejuvenation

There in the wasteland I heard the voices.
They called to me with whispered fervor
I could not ignore.

There flows a river in the cave, they murmured.
Immerse yourself in the dark damp womb.
Listen to the silence.

I found the maw and entered the gloom,
let the rushing black water infuse my soul.
Waited in meditation.

Anguish and anxiety considered a toll,
freely sacrificed to quiet the river roar.
Flood of emotion.

Silence at last reveals a musty, moist core
full of secrets stale as the dank, slimy ground.
A heart wide open.

Let everything out while there’s no one around,
examine, release, tidy up, empty out.
Listen to the voices.

Spirit renewed, it’s the end of a drought,
Rise and leave the dark damp behind.
Find light and laughter.

Sunday, 4/16: Piloting

Nothing above me and nothing below,
the wind is my playground
the sky is my home.

Swooping and swaying on currents unseen,
I catch a big air-wave
surf my mighty machine.

Roll left, then right, then into a dive,
my stomach jumps lightly
reminds me I’m alive.

Someday I’ll go higher, straight into the stars,
zero-gravity beckons,
and perhaps even Mars.

Monday, 4/17: If Only…

If only I could capture in words what I feel
and spin them into wonderous stories
when I sit down in the deep dark of night.

If only the thoughts that swirl and bounce
could be expressed in words and freely shared
when I need to be there for a friend.

If only all the sage wisdom of our ancenstors
could be collected in a bottle and used as vaccine
when idiocy touches people in the head.

If only there were a way to take a trip and
experience all the many lives we might have lived
when we made one choice over another, over another.

If only sleep was quick and deep and restful,
uninterrupted by demons or nightmares or cold feet
when my head finally settles heavy on the pillow.

Tuesday, 4/18: Shower Spectre

The shower is warm,
the curtain is tight,
a cool draft ‘crossed my body
brings no real delight.

A noiseless whisper
of soul brushing skin,
I shiver when touch comes,
spin ‘round again.

Who are you, I murmur,
and what do you want?
my shower is really
no place for a haunt.

No answer is given,
nor will ever be.
I suspect that my spectre
is only just me.

Wednesday, 4/19: The Perfect Cup

Open the bag,
inhale the fragrant leaves
deep and earthy, like fresh loam.

Fill the kettle,
with cold, fresh tap water,
wait for the heat and steam.

A china cup,
a pretty saucer, perhaps.
Or a thick mug, if you please.

The leaves dance,
plump up, unfurl and release,
steeping gentle in stainless steel mesh.

Savor the taste,
a robust feel on the tongue,
the rich, heady flavor of nature.

Thursday, 4/20: Mirror Dear

Who’s the fairest,
mirror dear?
I think the answer’s
all too clear.

Colored gray hair and
problem skin aside,
we both know who’s
witty and funny and wise.

Long shapely nails,
colored bright hues,
pale blue-gray eyes
and all sorts of tattoos.

Everyone needs
imperfections you know
but do we really need to mention those?

A thoughtful mind,
a logical brain,
boring to some,
but intelligence won’t wane.

No need to respond
mirror dear,
I think the answer’s
all too clear.

Friday, 4/21: Connections

There’s a moment in time,
one not often felt,
when you feel a soft rhyme,
that connects with someone else.

A look, a touch, a vibration of air,
a warmth that won’t ever let go,
that incredible knowledge you’re part of a pair,
and only the two of you know.

No matter the troubles,
or how far you may roam,
the safe, cozy bubble
of shared affection is always home.


Thanks for reading…feel free to share your own poems below. And stop back next Sunday for the last week’s worth of poetry!

 

Priorities & Forced Balance

Last week wasn’t nearly as bad as the week before in general, which is kind of odd since work was decidedly difficult. The difference is, I dealt with it much better, and while I didn’t stay caught up all the time, I did prioritize a lot better. It’s amazing how much just setting solid priorities can alleviate so much stress – and allow us to get more done than we might otherwise.

The poetry challenge was especially “challenging” this past week, but I managed to end Saturday caught up for the week (I’m behind a poem again as of right now, but I’ll catch up tonight). Poetry is all about “flow” and ironically, fitting it into my schedule has been exactly that. Looking for the proper flow, so I can slot it into each day at some point.

I think I mentioned that I was trying to use some of my nightly knitting/crochet/TV time to catch some of the overflow, and my body told me very quickly that it was just not going to happen. My eyes went downhill again, my brain refused to work, and pretty much every night sitting there with the computer on my lap, I eventually just gave up and shut it while I finished my hour-long TV show.

Incidentally, we’ve been watching Iron Fist and Wynonna Earp on Netflix. Iron Fist is entertaining, but I highly, highly recommend Wynonna Earp. So, so good!

In any case, that hour is very necessary down-time, and my body & brain were quick to correct me when I tried to use it for work. So…it would appear that time is just as sacrosanct as my writing time. This week, I’ll get the knitting back out while watching TV.

My neck is healing, but very slowly, and I’m kind of to the point where it feels like it just needs gentle stretching and then to build up the muscle around that nerve to protect it from being pinched again. I have to be careful, as it still won’t really “work” at several angles, but I’ve started doing light weight training in my shoulders/arms again. We’ll see how that goes, but hopefully it will be helpful. Stupid neck.

In any case, my writing output increased again last week, and no matter how much this poetry thing stresses me out, I am *loving* what it’s doing as far as just getting me back in the daily writing habit. That right there was worth the cost of the workshop (though I’m obviously learning so much more…).

And for those who have been following along weekly – yes, my taxes are done and will be in the mail on April 18th. I’m not efiling because I owe the feds money, and they can just wait for my check to get there, thank you very much. This coming Friday night, I’m adding some dedicated bookkeeping time to my weekly business hours.

I’ve been thinking lately of pulling a couple of shelved drafts out and reworking them for publication. The basic plot is sound enough, but they need revision/additions to work. I do believe that might be something to work on after poetry month is over. I’m excited at the prospect, and I hate revising with a passion. So there’s gotta be something there, right? We’ll see.

Serial story chapter coming Friday, and another week’s worth of poems Saturday. Stay tuned!

Poem-A-Day Challenge: Week 1 Poems

If you’ve read Monday’s post, you know that it’s National Poetry Month, and Carol and I decided on a whim (okay, she dared me) to do a Poem-a-Day challenge for the month of April. I signed up for a workshop here in town (I’m doing it online though, because time & people), and while I work to daily prompts (mostly), she’s decided to explore different poetry forms daily. If you click on her name, you’ll get to her blog, and she will be posting her weekly poems on Saturdays as well.

So, these Saturday posts will be a bit longer than normal, because they’ll contain an entire week’s worth of poetry – good, bad or ugly. Much like my serial stories, these are posted in draft form, though since I’m handwriting a lot of them and typing them back in, they’re getting at least minimal editing (hooray!).

Without further ado, I give you this week’s poems. Want to share some of yours? Feel free to paste or link to them in the comments!


Saturday 4/1: The Well

The well was dry, or so they thought
a bucket dropped in and brought back for naught.
Toss a coin down, wish on a prayer,
perhaps our dark secrets will disappear there.

Years after, the well still stands in a field
holding cursed coins and treasure appeal.
But for all who would visit, a sacrifice made,
another dark secret in the well must be laid.

Sunday 4/2: Mornings

It starts with a buzz
then another
vibration
harbinger of imminent doom.

The ship bell tolls loud
banishes sleep
irritation
summoned for immediate gloom.

Stumble into the kitchen
doggy duties
infusion
tea before leaving this room.

Down to the basement
sun salutation
meditation
illumination begins to bloom.

The shower runs warm
brainfog clearing
realization
today no early tomb.

Monday 4/3: Ode to Bindweed (also posted on the Snake Bites blog for this week’s poetry prompt)

Solemn and quiet the brown earth lays,
newly exposed after winter abed,
waiting patiently for nutrients and UV rays,
to warm the dark soil and summon the dead.

Deep underneath, where no light penetrates,
the tiniest microbes wiggle and churn,
tough twisted roots begin to replicate
preparing for their evil master’s return.

The rake turns the soil, pulls back the top
tiny seeds scattered wide, a last ditch hope.
The rake cuts the roots, but they don’t ever stop
indeed they grow into stronger, deeper rope.

Those arrow-shaped leaves, the bell-shaped flowers
would surely be pretty at some other abode.
In this place the sight is one quite sour
akin to licking the back of a toad.

Tuesday, 4/4: Affairs of the Heart

Maybe we shouldn’t
do this.
It’s going to hurt.
It always does.

We could, I suppose
but then
if bliss fades away
we’ll be alone.

The thing about love
is that
it keeps coming back.
There’s no escape.

But sometimes it comes
for one
and not the other.
Longing is pain.

The heart is fickle
and so
often I don’t know
how to proceed.

Maybe we shouldn’t
but then
again maybe we
should.

Wednesday, 4/5: Voices

It was there in the wasteland
of mid-afternoon that I heard
the voices.

They called to me with whispered
insistent ferver that I could
not ignore.

You want it, we know you do.
You know it’s true, so why don’t you?
They said.

Alas, no coin or paper
graces pocket, wallet or purse
this day.

Apologies, dear voices.
No sweet, or salt, or extra fizz
for us.

Thursday, 4/6: The Secret

Come sit closer
and I’ll tell you a tale
of something lost
something hidden
a curse on a gale.

I wouldn’t divulge
but my last breath is nigh
and someone must
know the secret
of how to survive.

Out back past the tree
where we had our first talk
a wooden box
buried shallow
with gold straps and lock.

Listen — do you hear?
The wind begins to blow.
The restless curse
comes closer now
but you need to know.

The box holds a key
that will open a door
in the basement
behind bookshelves
where rests our folklore.

As soon as I say
this next bit you must run.
Retrieve the key,
unseal the room.
My work here is done.

Hush now, don’t fear, child.
I’ve accepted my fate.
Find the gold tome,
chant the third verse.
Do not hesitate.

The curse, how she howls
like a wolf at the moon.
She comes for me,
go quickly now.
Save yourself from doom.

Friday, 4/7: How Handsome

How handsome you would look
in a puzzle-piece suit.
Jigsaw lines making pinstripes chaotic
and a tie sporting straight-edge simplicity.

When we’d walk down the street,
people would smile and laugh
and say that you’re very well put together.

How handsome you would look
in a crocheted woolen sweater.
Colorful twists of thick fiber knotted into
stylish cables, ribbing, and affectionate warmth.

When we’d walk down the street,
people would snuggle deeper into
their own coats and wish they could feel your softness.

How handsome you would look
in a paperback shirt.
Creamy white paper with black letters dancing
across your chest, and a kilt of colorful covers to match.

When we’d walk down the street,
people would attempt to read your
pages and peek between your covers.


Whew! A good, but challenging week, methinks. Next week, seven more poems. Anyone want to join in? It’s not too late…just start writing!

Poetry & Taxes

April is National Poetry Month, which I normally kind of ignore. It’s not that I don’t like poetry – I like some of it quite well, in fact. Shakespeare’s sonnets were instrumental in shaping romance in my 12 year old heart (that actually sounds sort of scary now, but it’s true), and while I didn’t do well in my poetry classes in college because I had no time to do the assignments with work and other classes (well, and I had issues with some of the analytical methods, but I’ve always been rebellious like that), I still loved reading the poems and have kept those textbooks all these years.

All that said, I’m really not much of a poet. I’ve always been more of a prose kind of girl, and found poetry difficult to write. But considering I like to read poetry, and I think poetry could help me write better prose (whether I can write decent poetry or not), I decided to attend a free Poem-A-Day Challenge kickoff at a local bookstore this past Saturday afternoon. We talked about poetry, heard some poetry, and even wrote some first lines and a poem to start.

By the end, I’d talked myself into paying for the daily writing prompts and online workshop. Which is complete madness, because I have *no time* to work on a poem every day and still work on my prose writing. No time!

Alas, I signed up, so now I have to figure out how to make it so. Which is why I’m missing out on my reading time tonight to write this blog post – I spent my post-writing time finishing the poem I needed to write for Sunday. But I really can’t do that every day this month – that reading time is very important to both my writing and my sleep patterns. So I have to figure out some other time to work on poetry, and not spend too much time dilly-dallying with it.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

In any case, my best buddy Carol who has agreed to write a poem per day with me this month, insists that we can’t just be trusted to write poetry daily – we have to prove it. So we are sending each other our poems every day, and then we’ll both post all the poems from the week on our respective blogs once weekly for the month.

I’ll be posting my weekly collection on Saturdays, so if you want to read what I’m working on this month, by all means, feel free to stop by. It will be…well, interesting, I hope.

In other news, I still have to do my taxes. I always do them at the last minute, because we always break even, so there’s really no point in doing them early. This past weekend, I downloaded all my various sales reports, and Friday night I’ll need to get those entered into my accounting software so I can aggregate the information I need, and then next Sunday will be tax day around here. *sigh* TurboTax makes it easy-ish, but still. Does anyone actually like doing taxes? I think not.

Is there anything remotely poetic about taxes? We just might see…