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Monthly Archives: February 2012

It’s a little bit me. . .

I have a sign on my home office wall that says “Sing like no one can hear you”. To me, that’s the same as saying, “Don’t let anyone else decide how you feel for you.”

I’ve had a very hard time in my life living up to that sentiment but the older I get, the easier it’s becoming. In my youth, I was always just left of ‘cool’. Ok, I was down right dorky. I had pie crust feelings that were easily crushed by even the smallest of harsh words from my friends. It always seemed that the music I liked or the movies I liked or the way I liked to dress, were just not cool enough for the in crowd, and I got picked on a lot. I never understood why anyone else cared if the music I liked wasn’t the same that they liked, and because of this, they felt entitled to tease. I never picked on anyone else — that I know of — because they happened not to like what I liked, but it always seemed it was open season on me.

There were a couple of mean girls in particular at my school, who seemed to make it their lives’ ambition to beat on me at every opportunity. I never knew what I had done to offend them, other than existing in their universe. Their favorite excuse was to beat on me because I liked John Denver. Apparently that made me less than human in their assumption. But it wasn’t just school, there were other people in my life — extended family, neighborhood kids, even some of my ‘friends’ who seemed to take great delight in teasing me because I liked John Denver. I could not for the life of me figure out how it could possibly be their business. I should have been a little meaner I guess, and even though I could not stand most of the music of the day, absolutely HATED heavy metal, acid rock, or any loud for loud sake music, I would never ever tease anyone else for liking something they liked and I didn’t.

So, I found salvation in my headphones and learned to never tell anyone what I was listening to. I enjoy what I enjoy and no one else has the right to tell me I can’t. Yup, I still listen to John Denver. He’s on a mix with a lot of other singer songwriters of the seventies, as well as a real healthy dose of the Doors. (Ok, I admit that in my youth I didn’t listen to the Doors, and it took me until my 40s to have a real good appreciation of them — which I now do, and count them among my favorites). Add to this the fact that given the choice between Beatles or Monkees, and I’m gonna pick the Monkees every time.

Bad enough that I was a John Denver fan, but I was a Monkees fanatic as well.

And you know what?

I still am.

I’m 50 years old, and don’t give a damn anymore who knows, who cares, or who thinks I’m somehow sub-human for it, but I am not gonna lie, today, I’m heart broken over the death of Davy Jones. I feel it, the same way it hurt when John Denver died. And you know what else? I don’t care who knows.

I’m gonna sing like no one can hear me.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Is anyone out there?

Once upon a time, I had it all figured out. I was going to grow up, become a musician, sing lots of songs, play lots of concerts, and live happily ever after with my guitar and piano.

Once upon a time, I became realistic and decided to be a little more practical and make my living as an administrative assistant. I became the queen of spread sheets and discovered a knack for computers that I would have never guessed I possessed in my younger days.

Then I got bored with spread sheets and learned how to make artwork on the computer and once again, I reinvented myself. I was going to be an artist, and live happily ever after with my paintings, designs and . . .

It didn’t pay the bills.

So I decided that maybe I could be a writer. I even wrote a few books, that some people even sorta kinda liked. I met amazing people, and knew I was going to be a writer and live happily ever after with my word processor and royalties.

I think it’s time to get real again.

The guitar is dusty. I’ve not made a new picture for a long time. I get hives when I open the word processor.

What do I do now?

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Nightshade

The following is an excerpt from my fourth novel (in progress) “Passages”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Here I am,” she giggled, waving her hand, and hurrying back into the shadow.

“Wait!” he called, squinting into the gloom, catching only a fading glimpse of her wheaten hair glowing halo-like atop her head. “You know I cannot chase. . . wait!”

“You’re not trying!” She called, only now her voice was far behind him.

He turned on his heel, fighting the sudden rush of vertigo that made him stumble. “I am trying with all my being. Please…please stop. Don’t leave me again. ” Something silver flashed in his peripheral vision but vanished when he turned too quickly to look upon it. He fell to his knees onto a hard and graveled ground. “Melly, please…”

Her laughter faded, swallowed by the thickness of the place — wherever this place was. He strained his eyes, searching for any trace of light; there was none. He listened, willing sound to come; there was none. He placed his hand on his chest in reassurance that his heart was still beating.

“You’re not dead yet,” a familiar voice said, from behind.

William turned, still on his knees feeling the small stones digging into his flesh, yet unable to rally the strength to try to stand. “Why must you haunt me, Richard?”

“You ask as if I have a say in the matter,” he replied with a mirthless chuckle, stepping casually into an expanding circle of sickly-green light. “I’m as—that is, we—” he gestured to his ever-present and mute companion, linked like a puppet to his back, the lower half of its face being cut away, “—are as eager for an end to this as you are.”

The companion peered over Richard’s shoulder, and even though it had no mouth William could tell there was a grin in its emerald eyes.

“Leave me, then! Begone, both of you! Back to the devil in Hell you’ve come from!”

“Hell?” Richard laughed. “My, my if I did not know better, I would almost believe that those are the words of a pious man.” He took a step closer, a slow grin spreading across his lips. “Could this mean that you have at last renounced your pact?”

“I MADE NO PACT!” William screamed, opening his eyes suddenly to a stab of sunlight.

The door to the bed chamber opened suddenly, and two men, James and Peter rushed in.

William gulped in a breath and began to cough. The spasm ripped through his chest, bringing with it spatters of blood and phlegm, fouling the fine white cambric of his night shirt.

“Peter, quickly, bring my kit!” James ordered as he helped William sit up in bed. He grabbed a shallow basin from the night stand and placed it on William’s lap for him to spit into.

Peter Garland was beside them now, James’ wooden apothecary kit held out in his withered hands. When William finally gained control and was able to look up, he could see the old man standing silent, ashen faced, with a deep crease forming between his brows. He heard me.
Have you brought your cup again, Peter? William looked to Peter, and a pang of guilt struck his heart at the thought. Peter had spent years atoning for his part in the trial, steadfastly defending William against lingering rumors and old prejudices. He is not here to hurt me.

“My lord,” James began, than softened his voice, “you’ve had another dream. That’s all.”

“They’re waiting for me. They were here, right here. I’ll never be free of them, James.”

“Of bad dreams? They are only result of the nostrums I should think,” James said with a shrug, as always, ready with the clinical explanation. “I can cut back on the nightshade—”

“Nightshade?” Peter gasped. “Is that what you’ve been giving him?”

James rolled his eyes then turned toward the old man. “Do you have an objection to the accepted methods of treating sleeplessness? I was not aware you were a trained physician.”

Peter glared, and set the kit down out of James’ reach. “I know far more than you seem willing to credit me with. I have been with him since you were at your mother’s teet, and I know, without doubt or reservation, that the last thing this man should be treated with is nightshade! Have you no sense?”

“And why not? It helps him sleep—”

“And dream of devils!”

“Gentlemen…”

The men each caught their tongues and looked toward William.

“Forgive me,” Peter said with a slight bow. “The choice of course is yours. He is your physician. I…am merely an old man.”

William held out a hand toward Peter.

Peter accepted it almost shyly. “Does the brew help you?”

William shook his head. “I do not think it makes a lick of difference. Not in my sleeping or in the dreams. But thank you for thinking about it. Perhaps you should explain it to James sometime.”

“That would be advisable,” James huffed. “Will, honestly, I am at a loss of how to help you.”

“I will,” Peter promised, ignoring James. “But not just now.” He straightened his back, and assumed the formal posture he took when he was performing his duties as the duke’s chief advisor. “I believe you wanted to send a correspondence, my lord.”

James crossed his arms and stood back. “Spell passed? I’m dismissed?”

“Only for the moment,” William assured him. “I do have something I need Peter to do for me. I would like it to be between us.”

“Of course.” James gathered his kit, tucking it unceremoniously under his arm as he headed toward the door. He stopped, hand on the knob and turned back toward Peter. “He needs rest. And he needs peace. Whatever matters of business that must be dealt with, I’m sure Lord Sean can attend.”

“I’m sure,” Peter replied.

“James,” William began, only to be seized with another fit of coughing. Peter helped him lean forward, to spit into the basin. “Thank you. James, please do not be far. If it was a matter of business I would call my son, but it is not. Please, humor me.”

James heaved a heavy breath. “As you wish.” He left, closing the door softly, only to push it open and peer back in. “No brandy!” He scolded, then closed the door more firmly.

“No brandy,” William mimicked, pointing his finger at Peter. “You heard him. You must stay clear minded.”

“Shall I pour two?”

“Please.”

A half smile crossed Peter’s face as he opened the small private cabinet where William kept his spirits and brought the ornate decanter and two goblets to the bedside stand. He poured the two drinks evenly and handed one to William, then raised his own and quietly uttered his customary toast, “To life.”

“To life,” William repeated quietly then took a small sip. It burned, as he knew it would, but it went down well enough. “To the living…Peter, may I ask you something rather personal?”

“Personal?” Peter smiled looking down into his goblet. “What is there left to know about me after all these years in your service?”

“I’ve hardly considered you a servant.”

“But that is what I am. I am at your service, as you are owed no less from me, and I am glad to give it.”

“As am I.” William took another small sip of the brandy, letting it sit on his tongue before swallowing. He knew James would be annoyed that he was so blatantly defying medical advice, but he needed the comfort the warmth the drink was bringing to him. It also kept the cough down and more importantly, helped calm his nerves when difficult memories haunted not only his sleep, but his waking thoughts as well; as they were now. “I do not know how I could keep this estate together without your help. I’ve no mind for business and budgets and…all that. You’ve kept my records and accounts masterfully. I could ask for no better. But what I wish to ask has nothing to do with business or accounts.”

William took another sip, for courage to broach a subject long avoided between the two of them. “Peter, do you ever think about that time?”

Peter looked up from his glass, a pained look crossed his face that he banished as quickly as it came. “Time, my lord? What time?” He took a sip from his goblet, swallowing hard. William waited while Peter rolled the goblet between his palms, then finally raised his eyes to meet William’s, and answered in a near silent whisper. “Every day, Will. Every day.”

“Would you have done things differently, if you had known me better then?”

Peter was silent, clearly unnerved by the unexpected conversation. “I am not proud of my part in your trial. I did what I thought—given the alternative—was the merciful thing. I knew you were an innocent man, but they would never let you be, and I had hoped, after all these years…”

“Do you ever think about Laurel?” There, it was out. The name he’d not mentioned in Peter’s presence since they’d come to know each other on the crossing back from Port Edin. He was not even certain that Peter would remember her.

Peter went pale, the goblet trembled in his hand. He gave a quick nod, looking away.

“So you do think about her.”

“Yes,” the old man replied. “I did not know if you did.”

“Every day, Peter.”

“I couldn’t save her. She…she confessed that she cast the spell on that torn page—the one found with her hair and clothes. She said she’d cast enchantments and the law was clear…I had no choice, surely you understand that? She confessed—”

“She lied.”

Peter looked up then. “Lied? What do you mean? ”

William looked Peter in the eye. “I was not an innocent man, Peter.”

Peter stared, the goblet shaking in his hand. “What?”

“Oh, I never made a pact with the devil if that is what you’re fearing.”

Peter sat down slowly. “No…I never thought you did. I still don’t.”

“Good. Peter, please take another sip. You’ve gone rather pale.”

“Not innocent?”

“Not entirely. That is why I asked if you would do it differently if you knew…things. And if I tell you now, will you think differently of me?”

“I cannot say. I did not know you then, as I do now. I know you to be a good hearted man, a strong man. A just man. I do not think anything you say will change that.”

William allowed a half smile. “That page with the prayer—you called it a spell—that condemned her was really mine, Peter.”

“Yours?”

“I used it before those meetings I had that caused all the trouble. I used it to be persuasive, just as the charges claimed. I cast the spell. Not Laurel.”

“But you’re not a—” Peter stood, his mouth open with the word left unsaid.

William could hardly stand the look of betrayal that crossed Peter’s eyes, but he forced himself to meet his eyes. “Witch? Is that what you were going to say?”

“Are you?”

William shook his head. “That is the king’s word. Not ours. We…I am simply a child of the Old Ways. The prayer I used was no different than a knight praying for protection on the eve of battle. I simply asked for help from The Blessed Mother. I uttered the chants and cast the charms, followed the Ways and kept the secrets. Just as my brother accused.”

“He also said you used them for evil.” Peter pointed out. “Do you say that was true as well?”

“No. On that he was quite mistaken.”

Peter allowed a smile to creep across his face. He resumed his seat, and refilled his goblet. “Then I can answer your question.” He took a hard swallow. “I would not have done it differently.”

“Mercy for a heathen?”

“Mercy, for a good man.”

William reached out a hand again. Peter grasped it and gave it a squeeze. “Thank you, my friend.”

“You’re quite welcome.” Peter set the goblet down went to the writing desk and picked up his quill. “Now, I believe you said you had a correspondence to draft.”

“Yes.”

“To who, sir?”

“Bishop Dunkirk.”

Peter dropped the quill. “You do not intend to tell him what you just told me?”

“I do.”

Peter set the quill down, crossed the room and took the goblet from William’s hand. “No more brandy for you!”

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Shadows

Last night I was a guest author on Edin Road Radio, hosted by Jesse Coffey, where I read my epic poem, “Shadows”. I borrowed the cadence from the classic “The Highway Man” by Alfred Noyes . Other than the cadence, this is all my own. I challenged myself to write an entire story arc in the form of an epic poem.

Shadows

 

A twisted rain had fallen from a torrent tortured sky
The clouds were like a fortress, the moonlight to deny
And the darkened lane was slick and black like blood beneath his feet
As he called up to her window,
To the black glass of her window,
His cries up to her window ringing from the cobbled street.
All the doors were closed against him, and the locks shone bright as gold

His drenched cloak wrapped around him, no match against the cold
With one hand curled he pounded, the other clutched to his breast
And he waited on her doorstep
Her cold and heartless doorstep
Dropped to his knees on her doorstep, with a burning in his chest.

Each drop of rain that touched him, steamed from his fevered brow
With a death grip on the door latch, his sight began to cloud
One furtive glance to the window, and his eyes could see no more
The night fell all around him
Heavy dark around him
And in the dawn they found him, with his hand still on the door.

‘Does no one know who lies here? Does no one know his fame?’
And they checked his cloak and they found it, a letter with her name.
The maid that he’d been seeking, in the dark that stormy night
Had sent to him a letter
A message in the letter
‘Look for my sign in the window, and we’ll wed at dawns first light.’

‘What a shame,’ the maidens whispered, ‘so handsome fair was he’
And each held a secret longing, ‘would that he’d come for me . . .
‘I’d have never been so heartless, she should feel the sting of guilt
‘That she left him there in the rainstorm
‘Scorned and shamed in the rainstorm
‘How she let him die in the rainstorm, of stone her heart is built.’

She crept up like a shadow, as they laid him on the cart
Ignored the sneers and the catcalls, as the crowd around did part
And she took from him the letter, and kissed his cold dead lips
And the man beside her pulled her
Far from the crowd he pulled her
Away from her love, he pulled her, with a harsh and viselike grip.

‘Think no more about him. Your hand is pledged to mine,
‘Your pity will serves purpose, and is wasted on his kind.
‘A bounder was he when he left you, to seek his selfish pride
‘He lied to you and he mocked you
‘Scorned you, forgot you
‘Laughed when any would ask him, if he’d make of you his bride.’

They buried the lad in the churchyard, ‘neath a howling autumn wind
None knew what name to call him, nor where to find his kin
But the maidens wept, and they mourned him, and watered the grave with tears
‘How could she be so heartless’
‘So callous, and heartless’
‘How could she leave so quickly when her love lies buried here?’

With a stone in her soul she relented, and fulfilled her pledge to wed
No love she bore for the husband with whom she’d share her wedding bed
As he came to her in the chamber, and tossed his clothes to the floor
The pistol shone in his waistcoat
From the pocket of his waistcoat
He gathered the gun from the waistcoat and quickly locked the door.

The fire in his eyes told the story, and she backed away to the wall
To the window she dashed and then halted, judging the height of the fall
‘Do you fear me, lady?’ he sniggered ‘Aft’ the pains I’ve taken thus?
‘That no man shall come between us
‘Nor shadow fall between us
‘Your love shan’t come between us, now he’s dead beneath the dust.’

He grabbed at the letter she’d clung to, taken from the dead man’s hand
And he laughed as she cried and he told her the details of his plan
‘You left your pen and your papers, plain for the world to see’
‘And I simply wrote him a letter’
‘In your hand, I wrote the letter’
‘The letter that undid him was not from his love . . . but me.’

Her heart drummed loudly within her, and her fear gave way to ire
And she dove for his hand with the pistol, to his heart she aimed to fire
But he twisted a nimble sidestep and she fell against the hearth
The letter he tossed to the fire
The proof of his deed in the fire
And he raised the pistol to fire, with the barrel against her heart.

She did not cry for mercy, she had another scheme instead
And with a kiss she pleased him, and led him to her bed
When the moment was hers she seized it, and foiled his well laid plan
And the night fell hard around her
Heavy dark around her
The shot rang out around her, as the gun fell from her hand.

The moon shone through the window, and cast a ghostly light
And the wind wailed a tortured descant through the valleys of the night
And he covered his ears to the ringing and the howling from the moors
As his bride lay dead in the moonlight
Cold on the bed in the moonlight
And he covered her face in the moonlight, and fled through the open door.

“Was murder, you know,” were the whispers, from the gossips in the town
And the blame fell upon her husband as they laid her in the ground.
Aside her fallen lover, beneath a howling wind
Just one word on her gravestone
‘Justice’ on her gravestone
Beside the nameless gravestone, where her lover lies within . . .

All through the moors and the marshes, through vale and forest deep
Like a fox, they hunted and found him, and brought him to the tree
For her death they bound him and hanged him and she won her victory
Just one word on his gravestone
‘Guilty’ on his gravestone
No name etched on his gravestone, and none to mourn his memory . . .

Still when the rains come falling from a howling autumn sky
And the clouds are like a fortress, the moonlight to deny
From the house, now long abandoned, where the lovers were to meet
Her light shines from the window
Her sign to him from the window
Two shadows cast from the window, kissing on the cobbled street . . .

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Uncategorized