{June 30, 2014}   Fiction Rally Part 2

Finally, my lovelies, as mentioned before, after much begging and whining on my part The Reclining Gentleman
has been gracious enough to write another version of the Fiction Relay, but this time it’s called the Fiction Rally and it’s just TRG and this girl here writing what will be, well, actually we have no idea what it’ll be, but that’s half the fun. So after going here for Part 1,
please, enjoy, Part 2 of the Fiction Rally. Where this will go? C’mon along for the ride, we’ll find out together!

Hidden behind a copy of a newspaper someone else had left behind, Daniel patiently waited for the train to enter the darkness of the tunnel.
Thankfully she stepped into the carriage alone, no other passengers to get in his way, no foreseeable obstacles, this should be easy peasy, just the way he liked it.
To the casual observer he appeared to be absorbed in the newspaper he held in front of his face, as if he didn’t notice anyone else boarding the train, but he was aware of every movement she made.
Daniel had gotten rather good at observing everything around him while remaining unnoticed. Another little trick he’s picked up on the road, his ability to blend in had saved his own neck on more than one occasion.
It wasn’t long before he noticed the chugging of the train had lulled her to sleep, a deviation from her normal routine he intended to take full advantage of.
Danny took it as a sign, now or never, it was time to earn his paycheck.
He’d been riding this route for weeks now, memorizing the stops, timing the length of total darkness as the train made it’s way through the tunnel, working out every possible variable he could imagine so he’d be ready for anything.
It was simple really. All he had to do was drop off the sealed envelope into her bag and get out of there.
That was it.
Once he was done, he was done.
For real this time. Not only would his debt be paid off but he’d have enough money left over to get out of this place and leave his run of bad luck behind him.
Hell, if he played his cards right he might be able to get out of the bloody country, he needed to leave the past where it belonged and move on. Daniel would have laughed out loud if he was alone, playing cards is what got him in this particular position in the first place. But this was it. This would be his last “errand” to pay off his tab and then he’d be free of the whole lot of them.
As the train entered the tunnel he stood up quietly, hoping the swaying of the cars would keep her sleeping. After the last botched job, Daniel wanted to be sure there was no blood on his hands with this one.
Never much of a napper, Jennifer rarely fell asleep riding a train. She was more inclined to stare out at the scenery as it flew by, sipping on a cup of caffeine as she planned out her day. Then again, this wasn’t her usual day. In fact, things hadn’t been “usual” at all these last few weeks and she hadn’t been sleeping well on top of everything else. When she did manage to sleep for any length of time her dreams were always dark and muddled. She’d wake up shaking, covered in sweat, a feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach.
Her dreams always began differently but they all ended the same way, Jennifer crouched on an unfamiliar floor in an unfamiliar room cradling the body of someone dying. She never saw who it was dying in her arms, but every time without fail she, Jennifer, was crying and shouting for help in her dreams until she inevitably woke herself up, heart racing, eyes swollen from crying in her sleep.
It was enough to put anyone off sleeping but unfortunately the body needed it’s rest, and between the emotional roller-coaster she’d been on and the motion of the train, Jennifer was exhausted. Inevitably, her eyes closed and she began to doze off.
Daniel took small measured steps as he inched closer to his target. The last thing he needed was for her to wake up and catch him messing with her belongings. Truth was, he had no idea what was in the envelope nor did he want to know. All he wanted was to be free of the bullshit hanging over his head. He’d taken on some pretty undesirable tasks in an attempt to get out of the sticky situations he too frequently found himself in, but this was the last of it.
A slip of an envelope into a stranger’s bag and he was on his way to another life.
He’d been keeping tabs on her for weeks as per instructions.
Getting to know her routine was easy with the packet of information he’d been sent, she rarely strayed from it, she seemed to be a creature of habit.
But Daniel was waiting to catch her alone and there always seemed to be someone near her.
Time was running out for him, he was beginning to worry, imagining he’d have to stumble near her in a crowd and slip the envelope into one of her bags.
Until today, when she deviated from her normal routine.
This was the first time he’d seen her take an afternoon train and somebody up there must have been looking out for him because this was also the first time he’d been alone in the same car as her.
His hands were shaking as he realized her bag was slightly open, just enough to make the drop without having to touch her belongings although he did make sure to slip on a pair of gloves just in case.
Whatever was in the envelope, Danny didn’t know if it was legal, illegal, or, for all he knew, it could have been something as simple as a love letter. It didn’t matter to him, all he cared about was the payoff and a plane ticket out of this place.

{June 26, 2014}   What I Would Wish

black moon4
what i would wish,
is that you would study me
like a mathematical problem,
or an abstract painting,
get to the heart of the matter
and ease my troubled mind,
if i told you i think of you always
you’d call me a liar and laugh that way you do,
tell me i’m cute when i’m silly, using different words that mean the same,
so instead i say nothing,
just write the script in my head, where it stays,
filed away with all those bits of me
nobody ever sees,
your analytical side overrules everything
making it easier for me
to remember
i don’t believe in wishes anymore,
they never come true

{June 22, 2014}   Lifeline

a glimmer, a sparkle,
a lifeline, urging me back in
just when i’m sinking too deep,
just when i’m beginning to scare even me
as i look around and recognize nothing,
with all my familiars out of sight,
suffocating in shadows not my own,
mine disappeared when everything turned mechanical,
i don’t know where anybody went, you see,
unsure if i’m the one who disappeared,
used to my tendency to fade away, of course,
i do wonder where the pitchfork-jabs came from,
i opened my eyes and saw my strength yielding the weapon
and i questioned my every breath,
faerie dust glittered around me in a coincidental manner
and yes, that was a rope hanging in the corner,
i can see the shimmer in the distance
and i grab on tight,
hand over hand i climb slow but near steady,
anxious once again,
for anything

{June 22, 2014}   Fiction Rally – Part One

TaDa! And we’re off! Fiction Rally Part One ~ Next stop, my blog. Buckle up, it’s gonna be a hell of a ride!

The Reclining Gentleman

As promised, here is the first part of a new collaborative fiction project that Joanne will be writing with me. Where will the plot take us? No idea. How long will it take us to get there? Dunno. Will the plot get as complicated and inpenetrable to the casual reader (but brilliantly fun and self-twisting for those who read from the start) as the Fiction Relay did? hashtag shrug.
I’ll probably do a homepage and summary later, but it doesn’t seem worth it after one chapter.

OK here it is, Fiction Rally part one. Enjoy…

Jennifer kicked her bag along the floor as the queue shuffled forward. She glanced up to the station departures board. The next London train was due to leave in nine minutes – probably long enough for her to buy a ticket and find the platform, especially as red letters next to the time flashed “overdue”…

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{June 19, 2014}   Unanswerable Riddles

you make me think
more than i should,
see, my stubborn claws just won’t let go of a thing,
but when those movies fill my head,
they’re mine, not yours,
or maybe they’re coincidentally ours
because i don’t steal your thoughts
and you don’t steal mine,
the similarities are purely unintentional,
or another version of the chicken and the egg
and what came first,
an unanswerable riddle,
kinda like how we found ourselves on the same side of the road,
i wonder sometimes,
if we deviated from the norm
maybe hid amongst the brush and foliage,
lost in a pile of forgotten clutter,
i wonder,
would anyone notice?

Yay! Get ready for the new Fiction Rally!

The Reclining Gentleman

I enjoyed running the Fiction Relay last year, I learnt a lot as a writer. It stretched me to follow the plot and characters in directions I would not normally have gone, and because the Relay was written in a linear way, it taught me a lot about continuity too. Going back and making changes was not possible so we had to make sure every fact remained consistent. And I learnt how to develop plot when I had no idea where to go. I would search back and find tiny details from 20 chapters ago and use them as plot drivers. Normally these breadcrumbs can be sprinkled in on a later rewrite but as there was only going to be one draft, we had to find and make breadcrumbs as we went along. If you haven’t read it, the homepage of the Relay is here where you will find links…

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{June 16, 2014}   Silent By Default

there’s a wrinkle in my time stream
just enough to spin me ’round in circles,
i’m unaware of my direction,
unable to distinguish between then and now,
here or there or up or down,
because it’s not in my hands, not always,
i see paths intermingled but the signs all read the same
in a language i don’t understand,
so once again i find myself lost,
you used to keep me company, at least inside my head,
and if i told you i felt abandoned you’d remind me
of my tendency to fill in the blanks with black,
i stay silent by default,
broken only by the sound of whoever it is you need me to be,
i can slip in and out of every shade of me, or,
call on my improvisational skills for the duration of the scene,
i wonder sometimes, if any of this is real,
or maybe i just dreamed myself up and escaped through a crack,
until i find myself, or an answer to an impossible riddle,
silence is safest,
necessary at the least,
until i find my way back to where i began,
silence will keep my secrets,
as i float without purpose
and with no sense of direction,


Since I’ve been told on more than one occasion I’m a ‘show-off’, (I am so not a show-off, well, unless the category is Guilt for $1000 Mr.Trebeck) I’m going to give my bragging rights to my cousin Jessica. You see, she’s earned them in one of the most painful ways I could ever imagine, she fell more than 40 feet and basically broke her back.
There are medical terms involving vertebrae and pelvic bones but it boils down to this: a young woman just barely out of her teens is now lying in a hospital bed and will be in a wheelchair for months. And of course, since we share the same bloodline, she has the luck of the Irish because this happened to her the day before she was going on vacation with her Mom.
You might be wondering why I consider an unexpected drop over the edge of a waterfall something to brag about, but that’s not the part I’m bragging about.
What I am bragging about is her Irish Step Dancing attitude.
We all remember what it’s like to be a teenager, the default mode for most of us could probably be summed up in two words: “why me?”. Come on, you know you said those words, or something similar a million times as a teenager. I know I did. I was sulky and whiny and felt like there were invisible neon arrows pointing straight at me, making me a target for all that was bad.
Jess has every right in the world to feel sorry for herself but you know what? She’s not.
She’s feeling grateful to be alive, thankful for all the prayers being said on her behalf, and determined to make it through this nightmare and come out of it stronger than ever.
Allow me to share Jessica’s status update on facebook:

“life is truly something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. it is pointless to stress, worry, and have a rotten attitude towards everything. life is an amazing gift. i have come to realize that i am very lucky to have walked away from my accident with the injuries i have. although the pain is unbearable i have to be strong and fight through this. not sure who was watching over me, but i am extremely thankful; i could’ve died in more ways than one. we all have a purpose in life, we are here for a reason. so whether your hurting from a broken heart, depression, loss, anything; please don’t give up you’re here for a reason, everyone is. god all has us living a story, and mine isn’t over yet. i appreciate more than anyone knows with their hopes and prayers. my pelvis is broken in five different places; and a cracked vertebrae in my lower back. they also found very small kidney stones but they will be taken care of after this recovery. cannot walk for two months, & cannot work for four to six months. if anyone needs to contact me text me, if i don’t answer my phone it’s because it doesn’t receive all messages. so message me on here. i will get a new phone soon. the long road to recovery begins, but i will sure as hell fight through this. thank you everyone.”

This, my friends, should be a lesson to us all. We live, we (hopefully) learn, and we grow to become whoever it is we become. I hope one day, when I finally grow up, I can learn to be as brave as my cousin Jessica. She is a true inspiration and I am proud to share a branch with her on the Family Tree. I’m thinking (hoping) it just may be the Writing Branch of our Tree.

jessicag2 My beautiful cousin Jessica in green. Look out world, she’ll be back soon, stronger than ever.
Tell us about something you (or a person close to you) have done recently (or not so recently) that has made you really, unabashedly proud.

{June 9, 2014}   Not Me

i’m not that devil on your shoulder
masquerading as an angel,
whispering in your ear
intent on pulling you away from your self,
no, that’s not me,
i’m not that siren attempting to lure you to a slow painful death
weaving a melody leading you to destruction and regret,
on a quest to steal your soul for all eternity,
no, that’s not me,
i’m not that poisonous voice planting those misleading thoughts
in an effort to push you down till you drown,
insane clatter spinning you in circles till you can’t tell which is heaven and which is hell,
slithering through your midnight hauntings
and echoing through your day,
no, that’s not me,
buzzing in your ear
insinuating you’re tarnished,
stinging you helter-skelter, trying to smother your glow
no, that’s not me,
i’m the one with the naïve trust, full of faith,
i’m the one waiting, quietly, in the corner,
believing in my forever

{June 3, 2014}   Rest In Peace Mr Big

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats.”
Without warning, one of our cats died yesterday.
It was a normal day, me trying to break my writers block in-between the usual housewifey chores, windows open with a slight breeze gifting me with an occasional kiss as I ran through my well-caffeinated day from room to room multitasking, hoping desperately to break my brick wall.
The three cats were all sprawled in various places throughout the house, catnapping their way through the heat in their usual stretched out positions, safe and secure in their home because lets face it, our pets own us, we don’t own them. They just like to watch us pretend we’re in charge, it amuses them, but we all know they own our hearts and rule the roost.
It was nearing 7pm and nobody was home from work yet, I was taking advantage of the empty house to stare at the empty page in front of me and Mr Big was sprawled out at my feet, nothing unusual about that. Mr Big liked being around people unlike our other two female felines.
He’d follow you, chirping and purring and loving on you, so grateful for his forever home.
Mr Big, a lynx point Siamese was left outside when his owners moved. Abandoned. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have pets.
After he was rescued he fostered in 3 or 4 houses, they were always multi-cat households and the excuse was usually the other cats didn’t get along with him.
My sister-in-law works at an animal hospital, she’s a vet tech, and we all followed the Tale of The Abandoned Cat, knowing we already had 3 cats and 2 dogs and there was no way we were able to…..
Yeah, we ended up with Mr Big, as we called him. Nobody had even bothered to give the poor thing a name, nobody knew for sure how old he was, but one look at him and Mr Big he became.
He was like no cat I ever knew, but the weird thing was he looked exactly like the lynx point Siamese we inherited after a neighbor passed away, they were like twins.
Except Mr Big was a love machine from the start. You’d pick him up and he’s put his paws around you, one on each shoulder like he was hugging you. He’d randomly howl for absolutely no reason then turn it into a yawn and a stretch, his Siamese cat eyes crossing before beginning a staring contest he always won. Because he had people eyes, not cat eyes.
Like clockwork, you could hear him coming up the stairs at night then he’d jump on the bed, do his best Stevie Wonder impersonation (Mr Big had bad vision and hearing) then flop himself down right in the middle of me and my husband, laying his head on one shoulder and putting his paw on the other’s shoulder. You know, so nobody would feel left out.
He’d stare at my face intently, his human eyes locking onto mine and he’d reach up a paw, claws in, and touch my face soft. Sometimes he’d try to lick my face and I had to tell him no thank you I don’t make out with cats and just keep petting him till I sneezed.
Did I mention I’m allergic to cats?
He was so long when he stretched he nearly took up the width of a queen mattress from claw to tail. And he’d lay his head on the pillow and get under the blankets watching television with us and purring loud with an occasional chirp thrown in there.
Then he’d remember he was a cat and spring up because he had to be somewhere else.
For absolutely no reason. Just cat logic.
I was petting him, explaining how frustrated I was with my writers block as he lay at my feet, he just did that low purr he always did, to let me know he was on my side.
I got up to make yet another cup of tea and stepped over him instead of making him move because, awww, it’s Mr Big, Senor Grande, The Biggest Man In The Vorld (that’s not a misspell, he demanded we say vorld instead of world, don’t ask.), Big Moner!
I stepped gingerly over him again so as not to spill hot tea on him and reached down to pet him only this time he didn’t purr.
I called him but I know he’s a heavy sleeper and half deaf so I got down on the floor to shake him awake and got no reaction from him. His eyes were half open but he sometimes sleeps like that and I continued to shake him, I started shouting his name, running my hands over him to feel him breathing, feel his heart beating, I checked his mouth, his breath, anything I could think of because this wasn’t happening I wasn’t losing another loved one we couldn’t lose Mr Big no no no no no God please no!
He was warm! He was just purring a second ago! All I did was walk a few feet and pour a cup of tea! There was nothing wrong with him!
Then I saw a puddle, forcing me to acknowledge the truth.
Mr Big was dead.
Just like that.
That’s when I started sobbing.
“What greater gift than the love of a cat?” – Charles Dickens

et cetera