there's not a whole lot going on

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Writer's Block

It seems lately that every time I sit down to write something for this blog, that after a few paragraphs I just can't figure out what happens next. This is fine for a few items that didn't really warrant more than a couple paragraphs, but just a setting and a character don't really make for a story. And that's about all I've come up with lately - characters and places without stories. So today, I'm going to share with you a couple of my false starts, simply because I can't give you anything better. I hope you enjoy. ;)

The room filled with light as Jason drew the curtains. Jack, his lone companion for the journey blinked at the new brightness, then resumed scratching behind his puppy ear. Jason sighed, opening his carryall to withdraw his pen and ink. As the train shook itself around the next mountain, he prepared himself for his arrival in Dodge and the speech he expected would be demanded. The writers in Washington had written him a pleasant enough speech that would, naturally, bring cheers from the crowd without abandoning too many of the old timers whose families had been in Dodge since before Texas had joined the Union. That was over 300 years ago, and the new families that had settled the area following the planet's bizarre and unexpected flash freeze, were expecting Washington to bring peace to the area.

But Jason wasn't simply interested in peace. His family had been among the first founders of Dodge, and he knew and understood the feelings of the older community. He fought down the resentments that came from harboring the refugees for so long. It had been 30 years now, and many of the newcomers refused to accept the old ways, the old customs, the old attitudes and most of all, the old values. Jason had been shrugging off those old thoughts for years, sometimes little pricks of conscience would still come through to haunt him...


The sun crested the hills that morning bright and clear, chasing little whisps of fog from the harbour, and leaving the cool crispness of an autumn day in its wake. The leaves had begun turning a few weeks earlier and now clothed the city in impressionist splotches of rust reds and auburn yellows. The leaves that had already fallen crunched and crumpled as I passed, alternately kicking and stomping, just to hear the sounds of fall. A friend shuffled through the leaves ahead, and I bobbed my head this way and that, pretending not to know them when they smiled and waved. When our paths met, we shared a brief hello, and apologies for having no time to stop and chat - our educations beckoned.

And so, it was that on a beautiful, autumn day, the kind that always makes me long for the open road, an open window and loud country music, that I walked into another world.

That morning I copied all of my class information onto a tiny scrap of paper, not wanting to waste the paper or the ink for a printout, and soon wished I had not. As I pulled the door to my first class open, a heavy waft of apples greeted me, but I passed it off as some new, unusual perfume, not unusually applied to excess. Once I realized my mistake, I turned to leave, but the diminutive gnome that now clutched my elbow prevented my immediate departure while babbling loudly. Shrugging him off, I reached again for the door, but another gnome now gripped my other elbow and the two spun me to face the room, all the while wildly gesticulating and still babbling loudly first toward me and then toward each other and then back at me.

Friday, September 12, 2008


She still didn't know how she'd wound up in this place. She couldn't even see well enough to tell what place it was. The world around looked the same, but something was different, a haze had fallen, distorting everything, turning crisp lines blurry. The sounds were different, somehow muffled. Every sense twisted, tainted, hid reality from her mind, pushed her farther from the truth, and yet, in her mind, she knew her blindness, her deafness, her muteness, and even that nothing she touched was as she felt it. Her cries for help went unheard, she couldn't even voice her needs, how could she make sense of what she could not understand? How could she grasp the truth knowing that no perception could be trusted?

Then she knew that she was falling, flailing, fighting against the dark maw at the bottom of the great abyss that was sucking her down. She gasped for breath, breathing only the deathly water that was drowning her, and then she felt the little tingle, a tiny whisper from her heart, and in her mind she inhaled the sweet perfume of a thousand roses, held her breath through a thousand sunsets, and gasped at the enormity of a thousand night skies. In so doing, she filled her lungs, her fingers and her toes, her entire being with new life, with the sweet breath of love and hope and faith, and she was no longer drowning. She was soaring.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

King of Cheese

Sir Gouda woke to find himself sweating and bound in chains. After ensuring that his mask still hid his identity, he began scanning his surroundings, trying to find a clue as to what had happened and where he was now captive. Unable to move without becoming nauseated, he finally discovered the reason - each motion caused his entire body to sway, looking up from where he lay prone, he realized he must be dangling from the ceiling by the massive chains that covered him from shoulders to toes. He also became aware of the waves of heat coming from somewhere below.

Struggling to turn his head toward the sound, Sir Gouda was dismayed to see his archnemesis The Swissinator!

"That foulest of fiends must have something to do, or perhaps everything to do, with my present situation," thought Sir Gouda to himself. "Perhaps he hasn't noticed that I'm awake yet, but how am I going to extricate myself from these chains? If only I could reach my Cheese Belt, then I could create a distraction while wriggle free."

The Swissinator began laughing softly to himself, then louder until his cackles echoed through the room.

"Ahh, Sir Gouda. You are so profoundly funny in your little Cheese Cape and Cheese Boots. Oh? Are you looking for your Cheese Belt? Why, don't you recognize your little toy here on my waist? Yes, I see you do. How nice. Well, since you have always been such an observant little cheese head, perhaps I need not explain your predicament to you." He turned to leave, but abruptly turned back, "But where would the fun be in that? You see, Sir Gouda, we are alike, you and I. Like two cheeses from the same continent, but one of us went bad, and one went good. You attempted to rule an entire country, and this simply could not be. I have decided I will be the king of cheese in the Netherlands, and you will simply be a new croquette. The Americans call it fried cheese, but the Dutch will simply call you a croquette and none will know when they look at you if you are chicken or shrimp or cheese or something far fouler."

"Swissinator! You evil doer! You have no right to be the king of cheese in the Netherlands! You're not even Dutch! You're Swiss! You're a pacifist! You can't take over another country!"

"Ahh, but Sir Gouda, I am not taking over another country militarily, I am taking over it's cheese preferences. One must admit that I am far silkier and smoother than you shall ever be. Why, I am even more decorative than you, who has ever heard of a Gouda Lace? Noone, but Swiss Lace, that is world class! So be silent and await your transformation from culinary necessity to lunch time afterthought!"

As the Swissinator walked out the door, the chains released Sir Gouda, plunging him into the vat of hot oil, frying him into a perfect croquette of Gouda cheese. After being removed from the grease by a giant spatula, Sir Gouda realized The Swissinator had made a terrible mistake - as the fried cheese of choice, Sir Gouda would become the king of lunch! No Dutchman would be able to take his lunch without the soon to be famous Fried Gouda!