Fiction Friday

As a writer of fiction, short stories, and maybe, an occasional novel, I will be sharing some of my works in progress on Fridays.

Welcome to the 1st installment of Fiction Friday.

“Ma’am, I’m going to need to see what’s in that vase,” said airport security. He passed her precious urn to a fellow worker. Her long manicured nails didn’t quite get a good hold, and the faux Ming Dynasty urn slipped from the grasp of the TSA worker. Crash, thud, shatter. Hilda saw everything blur except the urn, and she shoved her way through the metal detector slipping on polished floor to get to her only carry on luggage. “Oh, shit,” she muttered softly. “Oh, shit, oh, shit.” The TSA worker chomped on her bubble gum loudly and stared at Hilda bending over the ashes, the shards of her dear Robert’s urn.

Somehow, time slowed down as her fellow travelers maneuvered around her. Hilda remembered the day she and Robert picked out their matching urns. The flea market aisles were hardly large enough for Robert’s electric wheelchair around, but it made him so happy to be with other people. He never noticed their cruel stares, whispered comments like Hilda did. She heard every word. But Robert insisted that they pick out how his ashes would be displayed, and Hilda never could refuse Robert anything. The white urns with bright blue peacocks mimicked some ancient Chinese pottery, but they would look nice on the mantle. Until that damn TSA worked dropped Robert’s urn and let his ashes mingled with the sweaty feet, dirty shoes, and dust at O’Hare.

Perhaps, bringing Robert along was silly. She didn’t need anyone flying with her before. When she could find work, she jetted from LAX to JFK to RDU. She sweated her ass off in Bombay, nearly froze in Moscow. She never needed Robert by her side because he was waiting at home. Before the accident. When she wasn’t wiping his ass or giving him medicine, she tried to find work on smaller commuter airlines. She never did. They didn’t appreciate her running off to tend to Robert because hospice failed to show up, or he woke up with night terrors again. Always reliving the crash, the river, the near drowning.

But he was gone. With no one waiting for her at home, she took her sole companion with her. He often bemoaned that Hilda got to see the world, and he was stuck in that goddamn wheelchair. She swore this trip to Brazil would make up for his lack of exotic travel. Of course, she wished she could just have her teeth bonded in the States, but her dental insurance wouldn’t cover such a procedure. Too risky.

Sitting on the ground, she looked up to see two young flight attendants saunter past security and into the staff only room. Their uniforms wrinkled from sitting down, and Hilda rolled her eyes at their lack of professionalism. There was only one way to keep those uniforms perfectly pressed till boarding, and she knew it. But her airline didn’t care for her outdated ways.

“Ma’am, you going to clean this up?” asked the impatient security worker. “ Or do I need to call security?”

Question: what should Hilda do next? Offer your suggestions in the comments. 

Never Miss a Post. Subscribe by entering your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Happy 6 Days til Christmas and a Giveaway!

Happy 6 days till Christmas!

Today and this week, my newest collaborative project The Dark Jane Austen Book Club will be featuring a series of guests posts and a few awesome giveaways!

For those of you who don’t know, the Dark Jane Austen Book Club delights in the adaptions of Ms. Austen’s works with such things as zombies, vampires, and sea monsters. We will be giving away a copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters to one lucky reader.

So, why not head over to The Dark Jane Austen Book Club, and enter to win this book giveaway?

Living in a T.S. Eliot Poem

April is for Lilly, Dolly, Jolly and some foolsphoto © 2008 Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin | more info (via: Wylio)

 

Some days, I think I live next door to J. Alfred Prufrock and Sweeney and Madame Sosostris. In the depths of a T.S. Eliot poem, I make my bed, turn on the stairs, and ponder when the season will be right for eating peaches. As an English grad student, I ventured into the an Eliot class, unassuming and ignorant of the majority of his writings. Sure, I knew Prufrock and the Magi and the first several lines of The Waste Land:

April is the cruelest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain,

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow—The Waste Land

 

But, I never understood why “April is the cruellest month.”

What could be so horrid about Spring in bloom, the budding of fruit trees, the dormant tulips and daffodils pushing their way through the loamy earth? The thrust of new life coming forth, but how is this cruel? Spring is the most violent time of year, particularly April. As the rain showers nourish the seeds, the sprouts launch forth from the earth like rockets, leaving a path of destruction. Granted, the violence of Spring is so small that we hardly notice it. But it is there.

Spring reveals the truth that winter sought to hide.

Buried and forgotten, Spring brings to light truth in nature and sometimes our lives too. But truth can be just as sinister and violent as Spring. Truth doesn’t always reside in the flowerbeds of life, but lurks deep in some of the foulest, murkiest places. Just waiting for a chance to rise to the top, and wreck havoc, violence just like Spring waits quietly underneath “forgetful snow.”

 

So, why do we associate Spring and truth with non-violence and beauty?

 

 

Women Writing Well

 

 

Today’s post is my first vlog attempt. Please be kind!

I mentioned several books that you may want to add to your collection. So, here are the necessary links to Amazon so you can purchase copies for yourself.

Sandra Bost’s book Massanutten Mansion

Rachel Held Evans’s book Evolving in Monkeytown

Anne Jackson’s book Permission to Speak Freely

Building a Better Story

Every December, some Facebook application comes out with the “my year in status updates.” The year of 2010 narrated by me…I wrote each status, posted it daily or even hourly…the story of my year compressed into one image.

After reading Donald Miller’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” I find myself drawn to the concept of story—what makes a good story, who is telling a good story, how does a story become better. Like any piece of writing, story must be pruned, edited, chosen purposefully what elements remain within the construct of story. And story is individual, unique to each of us…we can’t simply pattern out story after anyone else’s and hope for the best. But story is still an abstract idea. Sure, it sounds wonderfully uplifting to choose a better story, making each scene of our life better than the last scene, culminating with a grand entrance into that “unknown country.” Putting flesh and bone to the abstract concept of story is much harder.

Growing up in church, I learned that if one opportunity or thing I wanted didn’t work out that God had something so much better for me, something more exciting than I could dream up. For years, this was my comfort—when I didn’t get the job I wanted, when I didn’t get what I had prayed for etc. Something better was always around the next corner. But what if it is not? What if there is simply just routine around the next bend in the road? No new job opportunities, no new exciting whatever…would we still be content if God chose a story for us that rested solely in the mundane?

As Americans, more than likely not. We want more exciting lives, constantly grasping for what is better and seemingly out of reach. We convince ourselves that God ‘s plans always include breaking away from the routine of life—eating, sleeping, basically daily living. What if building a better story isn’t all about choosing more exciting actions or scenes or opportunities. What if building a better story rests in the moments when we are thankful for the mundaneness of our lives, for the moments of waiting, for the moment when we keep our hands open rather than grasping for new things.

Question: How do we build a better story?

What Are You Reading Wednesday?

Books of the Pastphoto © 2007 Lin Kristensen | more info (via: Wylio)

Sitting in my comfy blue recliner, sipping the lovely creamer rich coffee, reflecting upon the upcoming day–I have become more enamored with the quiet stillness of mornings. Chilly mornings always make me thankful for a warm bed and even more thankful for a large mug of coffee. For me, cold fall and winter mornings should be best spent snuggled up in a thick blanket, sipping coffee, and reading.

Today, I am reading Mary DeMuth’s book Thin Places. So far, her words are healing, beautiful, and filled with blessings.

Question: What are you reading today?

For Those Days….

We have all had one of those days! At some point, we need to laugh, cry, think, or just simply stay in our pajamas all day, drinking coffee, and reading a novel…

ON this my last day of being 28, I would love to stay in my pajamas, snuggled up with my puppies, and read since the weather is gray, rainy, and perfect weather for laziness. But I can’t.

So, today, I’m giving your something funny…

Something to make you cry….

Something to make you think….

Question: What things are you thinking about, listening to, or writing? Share your blogs, thoughts, whatever you like….

Why I Write…

Why I Write….

I write to give life to the ideas swirling inside my head…

I write to free my soul from the death grip my nagging inner monologue of doubt has on it…

I write because I have a love affair with the English language—its beauty, its complexity…

I write to express my faith, my doubts, my fear…

I write to ask the questions no one in church says out loud…

I write to gain perspective on what I think I know, what I do know, and what I need to know better…

I write…

Why do you write? Or better, Why do you NOT write?

Pitching an Internet Sized Temper Tantrum

Today on Anne Jackson’s blog, she wrote about how she is a person not a brand. As a successful blogger and author, she can’t always respond to everyone’s comment, tweet, or email. I love her blog, her writing, so much so I subscribed so I wouldn’t miss a post. But I am horrible as a commenter, not because she has never responded, but the usual mundane business of life gets in the way. When I read the comments on her blog, I realized how many other people expected a comment or response. Which begs the question:

Are we bloggers only commenting/tweeting etc. for what we gain from it?

I wish the answer wasn’t YES, but we are selfish beings. And I don’t sit here accusing anyone because I can be just as bad or the worst when it comes to this area. We are more interested in using people for our own gain–if I guest post for a super huge blog then my stats will go up, if I comment only on blogs with lots of followers then I might just get more followers, if I review this blogger’s book then I will get more comments on my blog. And heaven help the world if that poor blogger doesn’t comment on the awesome, super sweet book review. We become bitter when our expectations are NOT met because all of those expectations were found upon a self-centered, self-loving, selfish perspective.

We are upset that we aren’t winning the blogging popularity contest so we pitch an internet sized hissy fit. No longer do we comment or tweet another blog because they NEVER responded to our hurried comment or even well-though comment. We grumble and complain when we tirelessly and sometimes annoyingly Retweet a blog promotion only to get no response.

So, we act like a child stamping her foot in ground and throwing ourselves a pity party. If she won’t comment on my blog, then I won’t comment on hers. There’s maturity right there for you. But we don’t have to act on our selfish impulses. We can choose to encourage rather than selfishness. We can remind ourselves why we read blogs, write blogs that it is more about building relationships than self-promotion.

Today, I choose to encourage other bloggers through kind comments, loving emails, or the encouraging tweet.

What are you Reading Wednesday?

Welcome to another edition of “What are you READING Wednesday?”

Today, I’m focusing on blogs. Yes, reading other people’s blogs does count. I decided to highlight some of my personal favorites, and feel free to add your own blog link in the comments.

1. One Hand Clapping by Julie Clawson

2. Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachael Held Evans (also has a book coming out this summer)

3. Pennies and Blessings by Mandy( I went to college with her way back in the day at Tennessee Temple).

4. Revelant blog by Mary DeMuth

5. Sister Wisdom by Annie ( I will be guest posting there soon)

6. Forever Family by Brandy

7. The Conversion Diary by Jennifer

8. My Fellow Word Warrior by Veronica
9. Emerging Women
10. Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by Sarah Mae

Question: What blogs do you read? Where do you blog?