The Reluctant Traveler

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The housesitter has been employed. Everything is packed. It’s time to leave. I have a little reluctant traveler on my hands. Hanna, my seven-month old puppy who has owned me since mid-July. She is, in equal parts, adorable, stubborn, sensitive, and special. She is also unhappy in the car to the point that she is car sick, like a child.  She is so sweet and innocent and so incredibly attached to her home that I can hardly bear to make her travel for 1200 miles in the car.

She tries to enjoy it. She really does. Last time she was in the car, she tried to look out the windows, enjoy the view, but then it happened. She started drooling heavily and was car sick. We tried every medication known to man and vet. So tomorrow, we resort to the last resort and try a heavy tranquilizer, hoping Hanna will just sleep through it. I’ve added a day to the trip hoping she will adjust. Tomorrow will be a short day. We’ll only go about 200 miles and stop for the night, and we will gradually extended the length of the driving days. I hope it will help her get used to it, but I fear it won’t.

You see, when it was prime time to socialize Hanna, the breeder didn’t bother. So I bought her at almost four months old and she hated travel, she hated other people, and she hated other dogs. My trip to Florida is partly  about Hanna. She will meet people and other dogs. I will help her learn that people and other dogs will not hurt her. By the time we get home, she will be over a year old and all grown up.

I will spend the month of November doing NaNoWriMo, which for me this year, is writing a mystery novella. 50,000 words, but I will write a little less since I’m writing a novella. My goal isn’t to win, just to finish my WIP.

So wish us luck. I will write part of the day and the other part of the day, I will show her the birds, wildlife, and scenery of South Florida on long walks. She will see the ocean and the beach. I will gradually introduce her to people and other dogs. Then, I will give her time to process it all.

Off and on, I’ll post here. A blog post entitled “The Reluctant Traveler.” Stop by and read about Hanna’s progress and about my progress on the novella. If you are doing NaNoWriMo and need a buddy, seek me out! I’ll blog some, but not as much as usual, especially during November since I have to write 1,667 words per day.

After November and NaNoWriMo, I’m back to work on my novel, but I hope to spend long hours enjoying and drawing inspiration from my island and I want to take a number of side trips. Some ecotours, a trip to Epcot, trips to the most outer barrier islands, a trip to the Tortugas, and much more, getting photos as I go. I’d like to go to Miami and spend a little personal nostalgia time at South Beach, getting some good photos while I’m there. I hope Hanna can go with me, wherever she is allowed. All good material for books and blogs.

Off to see the wizard!

 

 

Mean Girls

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The two girls with bright red hair gazed at their creation hanging on the wall.

“See, Alicia, the one on the left.”

”Oh, she’s the smart bitch. The one the teachers all call on. Her Daddy drinks. She’s nothing.”

They giggled.

”The next one is the Marilyn Monroe chick, Katie. Ms. Beautiful. All the boys want her!”

”Oh, so is the next one, Alicia. She thinks she’s so tall and gorgeous, she’s going to be a model and smart to boot. Who wants to hang around with her?”

”I like the next one, Katie. She’s nice and just seems to be one of us girls. She even kisses the boys, she says! Let’s invite her to our next slumber party.”

”Don’t even mention the next one, Alicia. Her Daddy is some big shot and she thinks she is really something.”

”Alicia, the last one. I like her. Her mom is sick though and she doesn’t get to go anywhere.”

”That makes four of us at our next slumber party, Katie. We just need to find four more out of our high school class.”

After high school, when the ostracized girls weren’t heard from again, the two redheads couldn’t understand why.

200 words

Photo Credit to J Hardy Carroll

 

Song Lyric Sunday – 10/29/17 – Celebrate!

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When Helen mentioned celebrations and the theme this week of parties, I thought of one of our old party songs, which I still love, Celebrate, by Kool and the Gang, written in 1980. It’s still played at parties, weddings, anywhere there is a celebration.

Celebration”

by Kool and the Gang

Yahoo!
Celebration
Yahoo!
This is your celebration

Celebrate good times, come on!
(Let’s celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on!
(Let’s celebrate)

There’s a party goin’ on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you

Come on now, celebration
Let’s all celebrate and have a good time
Celebration
We gonna celebrate and have a good time

It’s time to come together
It’s up to you, what’s your pleasure?
Everyone around the world come on!

Yahoo!
It’s a celebration
Yahoo!

Celebrate good times, come on!
(It’s a celebration)
Celebrate good times, come on!
(Let’s celebrate)

There’s a party goin’ on right here
A dedication to last throughout the years
So bring your good times and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate and party with you

Come on now, celebration
Let’s all celebrate and have a good time, yeah yeah
Celebration
We gonna celebrate and have a good time

It’s time to come together
It’s up to you, what’s your pleasure?
Everyone around the world come on!

Yahoo!
It’s a celebration
Yahoo!
It’s a celebration

Celebrate good times, come on!
(Let’s celebrate come on now)
Celebrate good times, come on!
(Let’s celebrate)

We’re gonna have a good time tonight
Let’s celebrate, it’s all right
We’re gonna have a good time tonight
Let’s celebrate, it’s all right, baby

We’re gonna have a good time tonight
(Celebration)
Let’s celebrate, it’s all right
We’re gonna have a good time tonight
(Celebration)
Let’s celebrate, it’s all right

Yahoo!
Yahoo!

Celebrate good times, come on!
(Let’s celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on!
(It’s a celebration)

Celebrate good times, come on!
(Let’s celebrate)
(Come on and celebrate tonight)
Celebrate good times, come on!
(‘Cause everything’s gonna be alright, let’s celebrate)

Celebrate good times, come on!
(Let’s celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on!

SongLyricSunday

 

#SoCS – 10/28/17 – Creativity

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Which should I take, the black or the navy? That was one of the questions I asked myself as I packed my clothes last evening. I am soon off to the ocean and, along with color-coordinating my wardrobe, I found myself thinking about all kinds of things while packing. One of them was how busy I always am and how I look forward to my months by the sea. My thoughts aren’t exactly rocket science, but I do want to share them with you. The busier I get, the less creative my writing becomes. My inner finance professor is screaming at me to call that a negative correlation. The writer in me simply calls the lack of creativity a problem.

My months at the ocean are a time when my life slows down and simplifies. I’ve always thrived on being busy and the complexities of life. As I’ve taken up this career of writing, particularly the writing of fiction, I’ve found that my previous way of life doesn’t work as well for me. Being busy and having a complicated life does not foster creativity. My head is simply too full of the details of my life for creativity to find a foothold. Perhaps that’s why my first career was in finance. Numbers and even the explanation of what those numbers mean do not require much creativity. They are right or wrong with explanations that are obvious. There may be a bit of creativity, but not much.

My creative outlet during my years as a finance professor was primarily music. Specifically, playing piano, generally classical music. I could lose myself, and everything that was in my head, during hours at the piano. I always wrote, but during those years, I wrote either academic writings or non-fiction.

Fiction writing is a completely different experience. Unless I give myself time to be quiet and still, to slow down and make myself feel instead of think, then the creativity needed to write fiction just doesn’t come. This is a tough gig for someone like me. Being still and letting myself feel is a new experience and I’m not very good at it. Developing these skills makes me feel vulnerable. Out of control. I haven’t allowed myself to slow down and feel in a very long time. It’s scary.

Scary or not, writing fiction makes it necessary. So soon, I’m off to my island in the sun. To experience a slower life where I don’t live inside my head quite so much. Instead I let myself have new experiences and actually feel the feelings they arouse. For me, that’s what arouses the passion that it takes to write good fiction. We’ll see what I come back with when I incorporate it into the books and stories I’m writing. Perhaps I’ll even come back as a more well-rounded human being again?

SoCS

 

 

Assault

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He didn’t leave the cool confines of his apartment very often. There, he was safe. Safe from from the broiling sun of the equatorial city. Safe from the cacophony of noise that assailed his ears when he opened the door of the hotel. Safe, most of all, from the germs that he could feel penetrating his skin when he wasn’t in the filtered air in his suite. An assault on his senses.

What he was in search of today couldn’t be delivered. He smiled to himself. It could be delivered but refused to be. He walked several blocks through the city. As he walked, he became less aware of those things that assaulted his senses and more aware at the prize at the end of his journey. Ahead of his, he saw the hotel that was his destination. He stopped and gathered his composure.

He walked into the hotel bar. He saw her immediately. His daughter, waiting for him,     for the first time in twenty years.

171 words

Photo credit to dorothy

The Bullying

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The school bus stopped with a screech in front of the fire station. The children had misbehaved almost the entire route and the monitor seemed unable to stop them. Now, something drastic was happening as the monitor was screaming for him to stop and all the children seemed to be screaming. Something about bullying. The bus driver shrugged his shoulders and came to a halt.

The little boy had been shoved around since he had boarded the school bus. He was pushed around every day. The monitor knew it, but she didn’t want to get in the middle of it because those kids would turn on her. The two bigger boys called him terrible names and said awful things to him.

Today, the unthinkable happened. The little boy reached in his backpack and pulled out a pistol. He was waving it around wildly, threatening to shoot the bigger boys who were bullying him and the other kids on the bus. The bigger boys were crying.

They were by the fire station. The driver quietly walked off the bus and got the firemen. When the little boy saw them, he sat down in the floor and started crying too.

199 words

#Song Lyric Sunday – 10/21/17 – Imagine

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The theme for Helen’s Song Lyric Sunday this week is “peace.” The only song that I thought of was the classic “Imagine” by John Lennon, written in 1971.

”Imagine”

by John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

 

 

The Ghost Road, continued #writephoto

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Below is a flash fiction story, “The Ghost Road, written for a challenge. It is continued below the line for this prompt:

They were driving the most challenging road they had ever driven. He had altitude sickness. They had been to the Grand Canyon. When they left for Phoenix, they took a wrong turn and ended up on a road that clung to the red rock mountainsides and took breathtaking drops down.

The road straightened out. They knew they shouldn’t turn on a dirt road. Phoenix couldn’t be this way. But they followed the GPS.

Later that night, her cousin called the police to report them missing. They scoured the desert. There was no sign of them. Not ever again.

————————————————————————-

This is a continuation of a previous story, “The Ghost Road,” above.

They followed the dirt road for miles. She kept telling him it couldn’t be the road to Phoenix no matter what the GPS said. He seemed like a man possessed, determined to follow this ghost road no matter what. She was getting frightened. He was acting strangely.

Finally, he said, “I want to see where this road goes, Phyllis.”

”Chad, we’re obviously not on a road to Phoenix.”

”I know, honey. But I’m curious. Let’s just follow it a little farther.”

Phyllis found herself thinking she wished she was still driving. He’d had altitude sickness most of the way, but after they had turned on this dirt road, he had felt better. If she were driving, they would have turned around.

”All right, Chad,” she replied, “but only a little farther.”

Chad drove on, bumping along the dirt road. The GPS had long since stopped talking to them and appeared stuck on the location where they turned off onto the dirt road. Phyllis suddenly saw something ahead. It was so hot in the desert that day that the air was shimmering and she thought it might be a mirage, just a product of her imagination. Chad saw it too.

”Phyllis, there are buildings ahead of us.”

”I see something, but the air is shimmering from the heat and I wasn’t sure it was really there.”

”I’m going closer. Maybe it’s a town.”

”How could it be a town, Chad? This is a dirt road out in the middle of the desert with no services anywhere around. Who would live there? Anyway, it is probably miles away and seems closer than it is.”

”This is obviously what the GPS was pointing us toward. Let’s just have some fun and go exploring.”

For some reason, Phyllis got the feeling that Chad wasn’t just having fun. He seemed more like a man on a mission. She remained quiet as Chad drove closer and closer to the sand-colored buildings. Finally, Chad started to slow down as they came close to a small collection of old buildings seemingly built out of the sand of the surrounding desert. They didn’t see any other people.

“This is creepy, Chad. Let’s turn around and go back.”

”Look at that sign, Phyllis.”

Phyllis looked in the direction Chad was pointing. There was a sign that said, “Phoenix, Arizona. Population: 283.” She turned in amazement to Chad.

”The reason the GPS led us in this direction is because this is Phoenix. Maybe it is the first early settlement of Phoenix,” Chad said with astonishment.

”That can’t be. It would be a tourist attraction.”

”Then why, Phyllis, does the sign say Phoenix, Arizona? There is only one. This is an Arizona ghost town! Let’s get out and walk around.”

Chad and Phyllis parked the car and started to walk around the abandoned Phoenix. Some buildings were missing a roof, others a wall. Some were intact. They went inside some of the buildings. One had a skillet on a wood stove and plates on the table as if the people had left in a hurry. Another had blankets on twin beds in a bedroom and an old, rusty spur hanging on the wall. Another seemed to be an auditorium. A thick layer of desert sand was on top of everything.

Suddenly, Phyllis heard music.

”Chad, do you hear that? Music?”

Chad and Phyllis walked outside the old building and there, in the middle of the street, was an old-fashioned cart with the words “Dr. Green’s Medicine Show” written on the side of it and a tiny man standing on top of it screaming at a previously non-existent crowd of people. Everyone was dressed in old-fashioned clothing.

The couple looked at each other.

”See, Phyllis, this is a ghost town, complete with entertainment,” Chad said.

They walked around the show and Chad started looking around as if he’d lost something.

”Phyllis, the car is gone.”

”I can see that. Someone has stolen it.”

When they turned to walk back into the ghost town to report the crime, it was full of  people. The buildings were filled with activity and looked almost new. There were men on horses, as well as men driving horses and buggies through the streets. Chad and Phyllis looked at each other and didn’t know what to say.

A large man with a holster on and a gun walked toward them.

“Can I help you fine people?” he asked, “I’m Sheriff Martin.”

”Our car has been stolen, Sheriff,” Chad said.

”Your what?” replied the Sheriff.

”Our car.”

”Young man, you have had too much of Dr. Green’s elixir. I don’t know what you’re speaking of.”

With that, the Sheriff started to walk away. Phyllis ran after him.

”Sheriff, please stop,” she said.

The Sheriff stopped, turned around, and said, “Young lady, please go somewhere and cover up. You’re walking around in little more than your undergarments.” He walked off again.

Chad called after him, “Sheriff, what town are we in and what year is it?”

”Son, this here is Phoenix, Arizona and it is the year 1857.”

Phyllis fainted and Chad knelt down to revive her.

 

 

 

 

Amsterdam

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“Why is the stupid door pink instead of red,” Katrina mumbled to herself. She had just rented a room in the famous red light district in Amsterdam. An American girl in Amsterdam. No money, no way to get home, no job. It was just sex. She scratched a smiley face on the door and went inside.

It wasn’t bad. There were new linens. She had heard that putting a bowl of pasta puttanesca out drew in clients. A knock at the door. Her first client. He took one look at her and said, “Let me help you get home.”

99 words