359 Extracted Words – The Tease – June 2018

June 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

Drinking coffee, watching Chinatown through the window, seeing a man hand-shredding collected litter – a trolley brochure, a Starbucks napkin, an announcement for the opening of a new French restaurant, stained with urine from the sidewalk. He holds a two-piece lid from a mason jar, separating the components, cleaning them with his filthy shirt, placing them back together, then pulling them apart once more, spinning the lid to just the right position, putting them together again. He places the lid on the sidewalk, crouches over it and begins shredding the brochure. He lays pieces in order around the rim, layering, layering. Donald Trump Jr. and Ronaldo walk by, oblivious to his actions, his determination. He, in turn, ignores their presence. The pile is insufficient, incorrect. He neatly empties the shreds onto a paper plate, re-cleans the lid and rim and returns to shredding the brochure. The red trolley on the cover has now been stripped to just its foundational image of wood steps and tourists’ sandals.

Their look, his view.

He refills the cap, layering, layering. Donald Trump Jr and Neymar cross the walk, in the direct trajectory of an oncoming fire truck. Its horn complains, its sirens blare, lifting the pigeons across my eyes. When my gaze remembers the old man, he is no longer crouching, but standing, although still grossly bent. He empties his morning’s project into the garbage can while a woman on the opposite side of the receptacle digs for cigarette butts and the half ounce at the bottom of a Stella Artois bottle. Donald Trump Jr. and Brady nearly bump elbows as they enter the new French restaurant. They clean their smart phone screens, attach ear buds and proceed to shred. They shred 401K’s, markets, futures, dreams. The old man walks down the hill, toward a swamp with no water, leaving only his shadow. Donald Trump Jr. and Knight each leave a half glass of Pinot and a tip on plastic. Their shadow falls on the entire planet, which they piss on, then boldly charge commission for providing the gilded irrigation.

If shadows had a scent, the old man’s would smell like urine, and so would theirs.

 

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99 Extracted Words – The Tease – May 2018

May 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a novel in progress.

Mann sat on a slatted, wood bench, flanked on each side by a pair of large, jade bulls with brass rings in their noses. The rings were in need of polishing, stained dark by the hands of lobbyists and peddlers alike, hoping for their ten minutes with the most powerful man in Jackson County. Mann currently performed his own penance, fingering one of the rings as he waited to enter the double oak doors that guarded the mayor’s office. The doors soon parted and Molly, in full uniform, stepped out, motioning for him to enter. The conversation had already begun, with the mayor leading the fray.

 

Spokane’s Get Lit! 2018

Spokane’s Get Lit! 2018

This year’s edition of Get Lit once again featured a roll call of literary talent, from Shawn Vestal and Fitz Fitzpatrick to Anne Lamott and Jess Walter.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On Monday night, we attended the studio taping of a panel discussion “The Spokane Literary Community”, hosted by Mark L. Anderson, Spokane’s third Poet Laureate. It was a lively discussion.

Friday morning, our fun continued, with a visit to the Kennedy Library on the E.W.U. Cheney campus. The first panel, “The Financial Lives of Writers”, was hosted by poet and MFA alum, Aileen Keown Vaux. Insightful conversation was followed by an informal meet and greet. We were lucky enough to converse with Vaux, as well as freelance writer, Sarah Hauge. Our day at the JFK continued with a session on “Writing Beyond the Binary”, moderated by R. Cassandra Bruner. The commentary was peppered with humor and sadness. Fitz Fitzpatrick was electric as well as edifying.

Our experience at this, the 20th edition of Get Lit!, concluded on Saturday at the quirky and entirely enjoyable downtown venue known as the Montvale Event Center (MEC).  Spurred by the delightful direction of humorist Elissa Ball, the panel members opened with a series of short readings and then, in turn, tackled questions about the many dimensions of humor in writing.

The vibrant and talented local writing community, combined with the hardworking folks at Get Lit!, made this year’s event another undeniable success. Thank you to everyone that made it happen.

We look forward to seeing what surprises are in store for Get Lit! 2019. (April 15th – 21st)

61 Extracted Words – The Tease – April 2018

April 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a rant in progress.

What the hell? There are things that even the dump doesn’t take? I’m thinking, I’ve known rejection, but never at this depth, rejected by a waste transfer station. I know now what I didn’t know then. Latex paint isn’t hazardous waste but it also isn’t garbage, until you make it so. A household chemical and citizen of waste disposal purgatory.

 

59 Extracted Words – The Tease – March 2018

March 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

 

The never-ending winter has finally ended. Birds are tweeting, buds are budding and for sale signs are popping up like mushrooms on nearly every front lawn, including my own. This experience has led me to ponder … what is the genesis of a sacred place? What makes our house a home? What are the ties that bind us to the places where we live and make it so difficult to let them go?

 

39 Extracted Words – The Tease – February 2018

February 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease comes from the depths of sorrow.

Dark, dark raven

in the

deep, deep night.

Moonlight in her eye.

Say goodbye.

147 Extracted Words – The Tease – January 2018

 

January 2018

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, short fiction, essays and novels. This month’s Tease is from a work in progress.

Nature abhors straight lines. Humans worship straight lines. We embed them in our roads, our buildings, our lives. Recently, I chanced upon the shadows of a maple tree as it cast its crooked cartography across the pre-fab, straight-edged, exterior wall of an angulate, downtown building. Even in the compressed light of a January afternoon, reality shone brightly. The tree was broken, jagged, very much in need of order, but very much alive. The building, on the other hand, was crisply engineered – paneled, aggregate rectangle upon paneled, aggregate rectangle and, of course, entirely dead. Why do we strive to produce the dead and not the living? Why don’t we embrace the crooked, the unbalanced, the unexplainable things in our lives, the things that brush up against us on the street, whisper in our ears, knock on our doors in the early morning moonlight?

There are no straight lines in great love, great empathy or great art, nor, I suspect, in a great life.