Category Archives: Writing

Comfortably Unhappy

I’m going to call these pieces writing sketches. They’re short and meant to go nowhere.  I might do something with them one day.

Edmund wore a hat on most days because he thought it made him look friendly.  Theresa thought he wore the hat to hide his receding hairline. He was one of those balding guys with long hair. He played guitar in a local band that was destined to remain that way. But he refused to give up his rock star aspirations. Theresa had been his on and off girlfriend since their freshman year of college. She believed she could find someone better than Edmund, but didn’t have the will to leave. They were both unhappy, but comfortable with the lives they were living. Making the smallest change seemed too risky a proposition, so the couple kept any hopes and dreams in check.  Then Sam came to town.

Guy with bike and polar bear.

Sam was what you’d call a go-getter. Edmund and Theresa met him at the university. He was a business major who was always thinking of new ways to make money. His schemes worked about 40% of the time, but he looked at each failure as a stepping stone to success. You would expect someone like Sam would achieve a moderate amount of success in life. Don’t be too quick to make assumptions.

What would happen if these characters met a woman and her imaginary polar bear?

Polar Bear

There doesn’t seem to be a way to ignore the world’s realities anymore, so Cassie is ready to create a world of her own. She has adopted an imaginary polar bear named Gordon.

Gordon appears to her when she’s anxious. He show’s up when feelings of doubt creep into her mind. He reminds her that life is good regardless of what the newspapers say.

Gordon doesn’t talk. He’s simply a presence. If Cassie is feeling down, Gordon does things to entertain her. He dances, juggles, wears funny hats–anything to brighten the moment. The bear will not let his friend succumb to negativity.

Cassie understands that Gordon is not real, but she also knows that he is. Does that make sense? Can we know what is real? Is reality just something everyone agrees on?

She has considered telling her friends about Gordon, but worries they will think her crazy. She is also  little concerned that one of her friends might try to get in on the Gordon phenomenon. Cassie knows how greedy and selfish that sounds. She will try and do better.

Polar bear

 

 

 

Crime time

The total eclipse happened. It was neat to see in my cereal box pinhole viewer, but because I didn’t see the totality, my life wasn’t changed.

Podcasts

I’ve begun listening to a few true crime podcasts. My favorite so far is True Crime Garage. It’s hosted by a guy named Nic and another guy who calls himself the Captain. Their research seems solid and they are personable. They begin each podcast by sampling a craft beer. It makes me want to try a few interesting beers, but I don’t think I like beer well enough to spend any money on one.

Another one I like is the Thinking Sideways Podcast. It features two guys in their 40s and a woman in her 30s. They aim to look into mysterious events-not necessarily only crimes. The content here isn’t as in-depth as in the True Crime Garage, but they are entertaining.

I was listening to one called Crawlspace which I think is pretty good. They turned me on to Nic and the Captain so I’ve all but forgotten about this one.  I should get back to it.

Night Time: Canadian True Crime and Mysteries is one I’ve tried, but it hasn’t gotten me hooked yet. Perhaps I prefer shows with more than one host. This one is a solo effort, but he does interview guests.

There’s one called Casefile True Crime that I haven’t listened to in a while. Serial Killers is supposed to be good, but I haven’t tried it yet.

The bottom line here is that I really like the true crime genre. This has eclipsed my interest in the paranormal-for the time being at least.

Art

After spending hours making wrapped loops, I have attained an intermediate skill level. Practice really does make you better! So I figure if I practice drawing, I can get better at that too. I’ve been drawing hands. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a drawing master, but I can get a little better. There’s not enough time to get good at everything. Writing should be my focus.

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Work

While I’m on the subject of writing, I’ll mention my last Science Node article. It was a simple overview of the Citizen CATE project. The project was the National Solar Observatory’s (NSO) effort to collect images of the recent total solar eclipse. Volunteers across the country used telescopes and other NSO provided equipment to get images of the eclipse. The goal was to create a 90-minute video of the event.

I’m moving on to the next story. I wanted to do something on data art, but the paper I found about it was published too long ago for my editor’s liking. Instead, I’m covering research that some people are doing in Switzerland on software that makes creating computer animation accessible for novices. I’m hoping I can get past the more difficult technical bits and write something interesting. Gotta read the paper tomorrow!

Harvey

The hurricane has devastated Houston and other parts of Texas. Could things get any worse on this planet? I’m going to try and stay away from the news and keep my head and heart up.

A Plan

I have too many blogs. I update this one most frequently. It’s kind of a general-purpose place to document my doings. I have one that’s supposed to be about me doing mixed media and other types of art. There’s another one dedicated to my making and appreciating jewelry. I’ve had many a notion over the months to write in each one of these, but you know how it goes.

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The Opposite Direction

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Jake sat in the grass at the foot of the great statue. He didn’t know what the statue signified, but he was drawn to it for some reason. Every day at lunchtime he would leave his office on the 15th floor of the shiny blue building, walk across the courtyard, and take a seat beneath the stone giant. Jake would lay out a hand towel on the grass and then place his sandwich, chips, and soda on top of it. Some days, today included, Julia, from the 12th floor, would sit with him and eat her bagel and cream cheese. They would discuss the doings on the 15th and 12th floors. Jake managed the A-L accounts, and Julia handled M-Z. The conversations were not at all interesting.

They sat and ate until Julia abruptly stood up and pulled Jake to his feet. His sandwich dropped to the ground, and he looked at it forlornly. Julia swiftly kicked the sandwich away and looked pleadingly into Jake’s eyes. He understood her request and answered with a nod. The pair then ducked under the statue’s parted legs and strode away in the opposite direction of the office building. They did not look back.

A response to Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner, Week 3. 199 words~

 

Must be in a dream

Photo of winding mountain highway.

The woman found she was on her feet and walking along a winding highway. She could see mountains in the hazy distance. She looked down at her feet to see shoes that she didn’t recognize. The shirt and jeans she wore did not seem familiar either. She thought she must be dreaming, because when a person finds oneself in an unfamiliar place wearing strange shoes and clothes, that person must be in a dream.

The dream was boring, so she decided to make something happen.

She moved to the shoulder as a light blue sedan rolled to a stop beside her. The front passenger-side door opened. She looked and saw that there was no driver. She considered getting in and going for a ride. That didn’t seem safe, so she decided to do the driving herself. She walked around to the driver’s side and opened the door. To her surprise, she saw herself sitting behind the wheel. With a feeling of relief, she went back to the passenger side and got in the car. The car began moving forward. The driver and passenger glanced at each other and smiled knowingly. They would soon reach their destination.


Response to challenge from Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner (196 words)

Listening

I love audio books. I’ve been an Audible.com member since I found out about it sometime in the early 2000s.  Before that, I was a frequent consumer of the public library‘s books on tape and cd.  These days I get my library audio via the Hoopla app.

I recently decided to listen to books with the word girl in the title.

  1. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
  2. Girl on a Train – AJ Waines
  3. The Girl in the Ice – Robert Bryndza
  4. The Girl with No Past – Kathryn Croft
  5. The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz

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I listened to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a while back, so it doesn’t count as part of this “girl” spree. The same can be said for Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl.

I ran out of mystery/thrillers with “girl” in the title, so I had to move on.  I listened to The Night Detectives by John Talton, and after that, I was happy to find two more Mary Kubica books, Don’t You Cry and Pretty Baby. After that came Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant. My current listen is to Durrant’s Remember Me This Way.

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All this reading/listening has me wanting to write a thriller. I want to do the work it takes to create characters and place. I want to construct a story that hangs together and ends well. As I listened to these books, I had ideas for ways they could have been better. It’s not even about becoming a published author. It’s about going through the process. Of course, I don’t have time to write a novel and make jewelry and art. Maybe I can make time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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