535 Extracted Words – The Tease – August 2016

August 2016

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

With a look of disgust and a belly of the same, he turned and walked away. Before he knew it, he was on the road east, jogging as much as walking out of town. A dump truck whipped by, its tailing vortex tugged him dangerously close to the pavement. A BMW cruised past, honking twice. He came to a bridge rising over the boulders and mud of the reservoir’s main inlet. Hard to believe this mosquito-laced trickle would evolve into the torrent that notoriously crushed bone and spirit on its way to the ocean. As he dropped off the other side, he noticed a couple using the brace of the bridge as a shelter. Their clothes were oversized and stained, but they smiled so he nodded back.

He felt lost, so very lost. Aside from the many honks he had garnished from passing traffic, he might as well have been invisible. Unseen, lost and stumbling.

A county patrol car passed him. He watched as it pulled into the gated entrance to a forest service road, then spun its tires backing up into its own dust to block his path. He was keenly familiar with the abrupt halt of local law enforcement vehicles. It conjured feelings of being busted smoking in high school, that frozen moment of fearful excitement, deciding whether or not to run. (Is this really happening?) Next came the realization that it was happening, usually followed by his ejection from the latest village he had terrorized. But he was already leaving, as far as this cop knew. As far as he knew, as well.

“What’s your name, sir?” the officer asked after stepping out onto the shoulder in front of him.

He had never been rousted by a woman cop before. A bad morning was getting even worse.

“Bart.”

“I recognize most of the locals, especially the young, good-looking ones. But not you.”

He was surprised to see a grin on her face as she looked him up and down. She seemed friendly, for a cop, and self-assured. The confidence to patrol alone, in these hills, spoke volumes. He assumed she could handle herself, and him, for that matter.

“You here for the Turtle, Bart?” she asked, pulling her hair behind one ear.

“I was. Turned out to be a bad idea.”

“Why’s that. Don’t recall any 415’s last night.”

“415’s?”

“Disturbances … fights.” She looked at him closer, her large eyes almost comforting him with her gaze. “What you running from then? Is it a girl? Somebody break your heart?”

“No, nothing like that. Just kind of wondering what I’m doing here.”

“Hah,” she let out a laugh, revealing dimples with her wide grin. “You and every other a-hole coming up from Ashland or Portland or wherever you’re from. No offense.” She looked him over again. “You know, there’s not much up this road except locals and wildfires. Some survivalist nut jobs, too. Walking through the hills in your Dalai Lama outfit might not be the best idea. Got some ID on you, lost Bart?”

He slipped a weathered hand into his pocket and then, with a sinking feeling, realized he had nothing with him. Not his ID, his money. Nothing.

 

 

Flowing to the Sea – Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille July 6th 2016

Flowing to the Sea

 

 

Magma flows to the sea like it did ten million years ago. Glacial icefalls flow to the sea, like they did ten thousand years ago. We flow to the sea, like we did ten hundred days ago. We learn, we live, we remember, we cherish, we return.

beneath the long sun

we rejoin the warm sea sand

seashell memories

 

 

 

View original prompt here.

 

Spokane’s Get Lit! 2016

Spokane’s Get Lit! 2016 – Garth Stein and Corinna Nicolaou.

This year’s edition of Get Lit once again featured a roll call of literary talent. Garth Stein headlined, but Shawn Vestal, Samuel Ligon, Jess Walter and numerous other local writers added to the mix.. Our favorite event this week involved Corinna Nicolaou.

On Wednesday, we attended an enlightening event with Corinna Nicolaou, author of A None’s Story. The session, held at Auntie’s Bookstore (one of our favorite venues), was followed by a sign and greet.

Thursday night brought the now famous Pie and Whiskey readings. This event’s unique blend of Dry Fly whiskey, homemade pie, slamming poetry and flash fiction never ages.

We look forward to seeing what surprises are in store for Get Lit! 2017. As you might have noticed, the countdown has already begun.

90 Dislodged Words – The Tease – February 2016

February 2016

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

His tiny frame unfolded as he struggled to stand on quivering, equid hocks. Drips and glops of decorticated sludge stained the hay and stained the air with the scent of blood and honey. And then those two magnificent appendages began to unfold from his wet, sticky back like a butterfly escaping its chrysalis. Is this normal, for him anyway? What are new wings supposed to look like? What will the veterinarian say? What will the church say? What will Papa say?

 

 

The Tease – December 2015

December 2015

I write flash fiction, non-fiction, essays and novels, but the majority of my pieces are short fiction, the classic short story. This month’s Tease is from one such story, and just so happens to be set on Boxing Day.

He would have preferred a room with windows, but a hocked laptop only gets you so much when you insist on the Davenport. He hears rustling in the hallway and cracks the door to the extent of its security latch. A gaggle of old women with bulging bags of Christmas wrap are waddling toward the elevator, proud of their Boxing Day discounts. Even the day after Christmas requires tithing to the gods of retail. He closes the door and presses the do-not-disturb button, invoking its red lamp. Returning to the cartel cart, he opens the peanuts, washes them down with a half-empty glass of Canadian Mist then picks up a slab of cashew brittle. Twelve dollars, so what. He’ll never get the bill.

The nuts are soft and the sugary mix shatters into a mass of sweet splinters. Heaven. Sure, he thinks, the streets of Heaven could be confection laced. Makes more sense than gold. If there was anything Jesus wasn’t interested in, it was gold. He probably would remedy our holiday, consumer orgy with less X-Box and more Tiny Tim. “God bless us everyone,” he smirks.

“You can steal from Dickens to get started, Puppy. But you’ll hate yourself if it’s in the final draft.”

He jumps with the words from the uninvited guest. Brown, syrupy spittle oozes from his lips as he lurches forward, catching the bedpost. His heart drums away.

“Who the hell is that?”

Writing 101 – Day 16 – Muse Splash

My tag cloud inspiration.

I chose my blog’s tag cloud (muse splash) as a prompt for the latest writing 101 assignment. Conjunctions have been provided to protect the innocent and their sanity. See how many tags you can find, then turn your computer upside down to discover how many I employed. (Or just glance to the right to see if you found them all).

 

 

 

A Life Shared.

We were as random a romance as Limbaugh and Obama, but that didn’t keep us from floating down life together, like Autumn leaves on the Little Spokane River. We portaged our dreams from Spokane to The Netherlands to Argentina to Brazil to Portugal to South Africa to San Francisco to Germany to France to Seattle to Italy to Chile to Costa Rica to Snoqualmie Falls to Mt. Olympus to Mt. Spokane.

The World Cup was our oyster.

We played football (soccer) like Chelsea and debated politics like Congress. Travel was our photography, nature was our prose. We slept on beaches like turtles and watched the Perseids drop into the ocean. We hiked through history in the EWU libraries and carved our fiction like October pumpkins.

Autism thieved our hope. In the democracy of our fears, we hid from holidays like dogs hide from fireworks.

Avalon retrieved our humor. She chased waterfowl through rivers and wetlands like a Christmas puppy deep in the snow. She embedded herself in our lives like taxes and the national debt in a tea party speech.

Then we rediscovered books and characters, Spain and Hemingway. We attended Get Lit! and NaNoWriMo, gulping down writing like coffee.

And even as smoke fills the panorama of our lives, we still hold hands while watching the meteors fall into the sea.


 

Answer: 6/


 

Writing 101 – Day 15 – Asgard Live!

Have you ever wondered what Dr. Phil’s show would be like if he did a remote from Asgard?

My guess is, you haven’t, but thanks to my Writing 101 friend, Melinda ,this nugget appeared in my mind. She suggested a post about the Æsir and Vanir tribes of Norse mythology. My first thought was, now that’s a dysfunctional group, which led to my second thought, where’s Dr. Phil when you need him?

[Applause] Thank you and welcome to this special Norse edition of Dr. Phil. Now, we’ll get to these gentlemen and gentleladies in the horned hats in a second, but first, I just want to read a couple lines written by a woman known only as “the Völva”. She is a woman of the Vanir tribe that has done some journaling on the feud between these two clans. And let me just say to those of you watching at home, if you find yourself in the middle of two warring god gangs, lightning bolts flying back and forth, it really helps to get your feelings down on paper. Just keep that in mind as I read this …

“Odin shot a spear, hurled it over the host;” [Dramatic pause] “that was still the first war in the world” [Applause]

Yes, I agree, very moving. But beyond the artistic wording, the Völva is really pointing to the heart of the matter, isn’t she? Instead of reaching for his phone, Odin’s first instinct is to reach for a spear. Now, I know the Æsir and the Vanir have their differences, but epic battles never solve anything. So, everybody just lower your swords, take off your helmets and let down your hair. Yeah, that’s it Thor. Just like that. So, in the next hour, let’s explore this conflict and then hopefully begin some saga-sized healing. [Applause]

[Voice Over] Stay tuned for more Dr. Phil and don’t miss tomorrow’s show … Giants-Why do they think everyone is beneath them?