Sunday, February 3, 2019

How much does music influence our writing? The GNG explores music writing.

After listening to some of Margaret Atwood's advice on the GNG's challenge was to rewrite a scene in a fairy tale while music was playing. Each member of the group selected 2 classic storybook titles from a bowl. They were allowed to open the paper to reveal their selection when the music started to play. Each member had 30 mins to write a couple paragraphs of the scene.

DSharp - All The Stars (Cover) Kendrick Lamar & SZA

MiaMain: Peter Pan

"I'm entering into my fourth childhood."

These words hang suspended in air. As out of place in our reality as the belief of the eternal child who uttered them into existence.

This happy thought takes flight in him. Transporting him to a realm of mystical, magical immaturity, where times stands still for one and chases the rest of mercilessly

YvonneWalker: Hansel & Gretel

“I have not eaten in so long. This witch doctor has me on this no sugar diet. I mean, really. No sugar. My house is nothing but sugar,” the witch says out loud. “I don’t even know what this Keto diet is,” she comments looking at the floating tablet. “Mostly meat. That would be wonderful if these huntsmen weren’t clearing out my forest,” she sat with a heavy sigh with only a grumble in reply. “Quiet you,” she scolded her empty belly.

“Hahaha, look at this, Gretel. It’s a giant ass lollipop. I’m going to take a bite,” a voice called from outside the window.

“Hansel, you’d better not do that. We just ate and this looks like someone’s house,” a higher pitched voice replied.

“Yeah, whatever, here is your favorite, a chocolate bar or a shutter. Who cares, it’s delicious,” Hansel called out around a mouth full of sweets.

“What the F--,” the witch said as the ripping sound of her shutter brought her to the window. She took in the scene of two fat blonde children sharing the chocolate shutter; one on each side nibbling away. “You little sh--,” she was about to yell but thought better of it. Instead she grabbed two handfuls of candies and went to the door.

“Oh children, you shouldn’t be eating that dirty old shut—chocolate bar. I have much more inside. Come in, come in”, she beckoned the wide-eyed youngster. 

DAPTales: Rumplestiltskin

It was the third time and her third promise -- the third time doing the impossible. The miller’s daughter glared down at the loom and sighed. Her grasp tightened on her grip of straw as she mentally scolded herself to continue. Impatience with herself grew as she quickly sat and began to loom.  Soon her heart began to beat in time with the momentum of the foot pedals and it felt as though her life-force was pumping into the spindle with each strand of hay.

Just like before, the daydreams began. They swirled in her mind like a smooth elixir of excitement and joy. As she peddled faster her heart continued to match the rhythm and she could feel her daydream solidify into a reality so believable that she could feel the lips of her beautiful prince once more. His lips were as soft as feathers but still, she jumped out of her daydream like a startled rabbit. As the miller’s daughter touched her lips as if trying to prolong the feeling, she glanced down at the miracle at her feet; strands of gold.

Al-Falaq: Cinderella

A stroke of the brush, and another, then another, played out onto the canvas from the wisp of his admiring hand. A portrait emerges, layers of swirled hues clouded with the scent of turpentine, its colors light like a spring noon, pale like drifting clouds, imbued with a breath of happiness, contentment held within like an embraced child. Nothing within it could have implied the true image of its subject; a girl’s bent form, pain hidden in the arched curl of her back, hands worn from the unnumbered days of the same floor, scrubbed right down to the knot of the wood, a face holding only resignation to fate. A withering shadow among the clean but hollowed corners of her tiny world. Nary a hint existed of the bright, soft glowing tones of the painting which supposedly bore her likeness.

Staring into the canvas, glancing askance at her melting form beyond the window pane, inside which he was forbidden to tarry, the young artist’s heart swelled and turning with mixed emotion as he wondered: What might happen, if only you could see yourself as I see you, my dearest Cinderella? 

 Supaman - Miracle feat. Maimouna 

MiaMain: Pinocchio

"I'm just trying to keep it 100."

Standing there, her eyes beckoning me to ignore the obvious lie spreading between us, as she creates a fantastical world of fiction. The taller the tale the more elaborate the entertainment becomes. As she spins, I swear that I can see circus acts around me. At one point, I saw a formally attired insect, apparently awaiting rain, performing on the quickly unraveling thread of logic in this hastily woven falsehood.

I take a deep sigh, look her in the eye and reply, "It's your lie, tell it any way you want, Pinocchio."

YvonneWalker: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

“Would you look at this? Someone come look at this. Oh right, it’s just me here,” the wolf uttered. “Me and this kid; he must be from a broken home or something. I mean this is the third time he has said that I was going to eat him and they just keep running over.”

“Boy, where is the wolf? Where did you see him? We will kill this wolf,” a townsman told the little boy.

“I must have been mistaken, I thought I saw him,” the boy replied.

“Ha, no you didn’t. I am the night. No, wait. I come at night and this kid is messing up my dinner plans,” the wolf mutter laying back down on his hunches. 

DAPTales: Beauty and the Beast

“I say… Fuck the Beast!” Bellowed Gaston as he mounted his horse.

“Do yawl want this creature to run rampant in our villages and eating our bitches?! I say… Fuck the Beast!”

Gaston marched his horse forward and trampled the widow’s newly seeded flower bed. She yelped her outrage, but was quickly ignored and swallowed by the preceding crowd that followed Gaston, determined to do exactly as he suggested – to go fuck the beast.

Al-Falaq: CinderellaPrincess & the Pea

“Not a fan,” the girl said dismissively, sliding off the twelfth mattress upon which she had lain.  The salesman, developing an engrossing sense that the entire substance of his day would soon be consumed completely by this young customer’s brattish attitude, displayed none of his emotion, simply indicating the next offering with a genteel wave of his hand. His inner voice; having less obligation to demurity, grumbled frustratedly, Thisssss Biiiiiitchshshshshshs! 

“Why do they all feel, like, not good?” the girl demanded, with an authentic air of expectation of an answer. Carefully removing the mental projections of his hands from her tender, spoiled-rotten throat before addressing her, the salesman, patient as ever, simply smiled his close-lipped smile and replied, “Even a master craftsman, my dear, may struggle to make in life that piece which could meet the standards of a taste so impeccable.” Dumping her imaginary body in the ditches along the fringes of his mind, he waited for her to find her next failed repose.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

GNG; writing fundamentals -- How to write a good first line

After taking some time to view the video below, the GNG members write 3 first lines of 3 different genres. Can you guess which genre?

al-Falaq (Had to outshine us by doing 4, LOL)

“I’m not pressuring you,” Detective Eickes grumbled out through clenched teeth, “but has anybody found this guy’s fucking head, yet?”

Blood trickling into my eyes, I could barely make out the thorn-filled wall of roses stretching up into a cloudless blue sky as I thought, “Okay, let’s try this again.”

Onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme; the loves of her life through nimble fingers drizzled over her magic cauldron while just beyond the varnished swinging door, judgment sat, patiently waiting.

Jacob was waist deep in the ocean in a three-piece suit, the day I became the kind of person who could learn to care about someone else’s feelings more than my own.

Mia Maine

Write three opening lines for three different genres.
Other writers try to guess the genre

He came from a long line of construction workers; he was part visionary, part bulldozer, no wonder he was adept at breaking hearts.

The teddy bear was sticky, not from overuse but from the pool of blood in which it lay.

A feeling of foreboding settled upon my shoulders as I stared at the indigo splotch spreading across the canary sun.

He held her hand as the white sheet was draped across her cooling body; would it be for the last time or would she wake as before?

Be watchful! Fog, can be just as great an enemy as those who hide in it, among the trees,” the General said as he stood on the hilltop.

My life began with a kiss, electrifying. 

At the age of sixty-five, DeAnna decided that her fight with happiness was over.

The dawn brought with it the cold and Vlad could think of nothing but the warm, satisfying taste of blood.

When autumn leaves fall, they fall – they don’t shatter.  

Friday, November 9, 2018

GNG Meeting: An exercise in movement

Within my cupped hands
I hold water
That holds me.
A reflection
In my hands
My breath pushes forward
As I sigh.
The water Ripples.
I ripple.
I sigh again and 
Water escapes.
I escape so I hold on
Until the water is still again.
My reflection is still.
So, I am still
Still hold me
Within my cupped hands.

I started reading my book around three,
Cloaked in the shadow of a sycamore tree.
Jeremy wanted me to ride with hee,
In a rickety buggee,
He plied mee
With an offer to share some brie,
So I accepted his hospitalitee.
And down the dusty road, rode we.
About halfway we came to see
A vagabond stumbling drunkenlee,
Before our horse did tumble hee,
Who then tripped our horse, which sprained its knee.
Then it was not me, but Jeremee,
Who accosted this stranger angrilee
Before he had had a chance to see
This hobo was now just a dead bodee.
“Oh, Shit!” exclaimed hee.
In panicky chaos a plan did Jeremee,
Hatch to resolve this delinquencee
Since I now found out that unbeknownst to me,
He was now smuggling heroin for the thuggee.
“You’re on your own”, I explained to hee,
And disembarked into the forestree,
Wherefrom I could hear his arrest into captivitee
As the police encountered Jeremee.
And there in the shade of an old oak tree,
I sat to read, both happy and free.

She speaks in whispers
Her breath coming in quiet swirls of words
Smelling of sweet nothings in melody, whispers
Whiskey husk glides across drums that vibrate with sound
I watch her lips tip back the glass, then another
Arms engulf me as she moves closer, whispers
The rank and filth around us disappear, as her hair brushes my cheek when she turns her head
Thumping bass moves us as we stare at one another, one eye honey the other chocolate
Bodies moving in the dark, lights illuminating the shadows, whispers
Bumps in the night stir me to wake, she takes another sip
“Sorry pal” he says before moving over to her, grabbing her by the waist
She smiles deeply at him and glances over his shoulder, honey and chocolate
She speaks in whispers but not to me 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

GNG meeting from July 29th 2018

(Click on their names to be linked to their blogs)

Mia Maine
Feeling: Manic
Image: Addict hitting another line of coke
Word: Frenzy
The root of all evil, rolled tautly into a hollow tube, is placed precisely against my reflection and inserted into my nasal cavity.
I exhale and in the milliseconds that elapsed before my inhalation, I hear it again.
Please, just stop
I close my mouth and breathe in Frenzy ground down into a silky powder 
A star explodes, 
Meteorites crash against my brain and my blood surges in the resulting tsunami.
Mania surfs the wave, widening my eyes, 
Words collide with thoughts, at once I want to communicate all and nothing
I slide, washed away or along-side
companion to everyone and yet eerily alone 
Tossed about by memories and experiences
Churned in life’s undertow and spit out upon the shore of here and now 
I lick my lips, shake my head to orient myself
Dip my finger in the Frenzy and rub it across my teeth. 
I pick up the root of all evil, place it precisely against my reflection, 
She looks back at me and mouths “Please, just stop” before she becomes too blurry to see.
eath and tickling my extremities

DAP Tales
Given word – Eger
Image: Beavers crossing the street

Jackie Beaver could smell the river before he saw it. Despite the annoying smell of steaming hot asphalt in front of him, he could smell it. It was this smell that he raked in with a deep breath. The damp moss coxed and called to him with a temptation that he felt deep in his bones, so he took a step forward. Whoosh! The air trail of the passing car, that just missed him, sent him stumbling into the dry prickly grass. Dazed, Jackie looked passed his sprawled feet to the empty road. He looked left. Nothing. He looked right. Nothing. Decision made, Jackie sat up with every intent to cross the street.
            “Geronimoooo!” Came a shout from behind him. It manifested into the furry hind-quarters of another beaver. The ball of fur flew across the asphalt as if being chased. The beaver, whom Jackie decided to name, Geronimo, turned and waved to him from the other side. Before Jackie could lift his paw to wave back, Geronimo was gone.
            Jackie Beaver took another deep breath of the deliciously wet, mossy scent of the river on the other side of the road. Once again, he looked to his left and then his right. Feeling safe, Jackie eagerly dashed in a lung burning sprint. Just as he made it to the other side, several cars blew passed him with fur cinching speed. Delirious with relief, Jackie bolted toward the lake but suddenly stopped in his tracks when a new smell assaulted him. Blood! Stretching his neck toward the scent, he cautiously peeked around a stout pine tree and there, at the edge of the river, a skinny fox was having a Geronimo dinner. Tearing his eyes from the gruesome scene, Jackie sighed with a heavy heart. Today just wasn’t a good day to be an eager beaver.

Indecisiveness- Befuddled

Warm tousled goodness, intertwining with flowing mastery? No. That won’t do. Cool, tingly, bites that overwhelm the senses? No. Not quite. Melodious melting membranes, wrapping, contouring around one another. Close but… not exactly. Golden heavenly light drenched, bursting with happiness! Nah, try again.

My mental facilities race around in circles, as I creep into sensory overload. The sights are all consuming, the smells tremendously outrageous, the sounds joyfully deafening. And the tastes! The multitude of flavors titillating my taste buds short circuit the little hamster in the wheel of my mind. It begins to shut down as my breath becomes shallow. My heart beating wildly demanding an answer to the question on his lips. What is this maddening world of excess?!

“Honey, what kind of ice cream did you want?” he asked with confusion displayed on his face that mirrored my own. 

“Why would you bring me to this place of wonder called B’More Licks?! How dare you?!” 

Word: Worried
Image:  Draw shade
Word:  Fatalistic

Like marbles, your eyes languish immobile, set to absorb the surrounding darkness.  I see them as if through a slight haze, the distance between us not yet fully brought close.  You are hovering in a space between awareness and dream, looking out through your glass-like eyes towards a day you hope would not have begun, but of course, it has.  I know all about it.  So, familiar, looking at you lying there.  Could say, “It’s like looking at my own self,” but that would be facetious.  Because it is me.  Me here, looking at me lying there, the me who is still alive being observed by the me now already dead and gone, come back to stalk myself surreptitiously from the gathering shadow. 
Dread.  Not a specific concern, but a lingering anxiety, generic, everywhere, permeating.  The room swims in shadow, a tiny, glistening highlight visible at the edges of the drawn shade, holding out the intrusive dawning sun.  Like it or not, the day is trying to start.  With or without you, as they say.  They are always saying something.  The murmuring throng.  The Hapless Horde.  The moronic majority spilling out their morality by the cup full to all the thirsty sponges crying out for guidance.  The path to Armageddon, well paved.  If they knew what you knew, would their tongues wag so much?  You haven’t moved an inch, in spite of the ants crawling centimeter by itching centimeter beneath your skin, driven by the thoughts in your restless brain, endlessly harassing nerve after nerve because you know the sun inches higher and higher above the dew-drunk trees.  I remember it.  I want to scratch it for you.  Let you feel the comfort of a human hand, consoling fingertips, warm palms.  I want to shake you.  I want to drive into your head any semblance I can of defiance, indignation, any refusal to give in to the tides of fate.  I’d scratch you, abrade you with sandpaper, lovingly strip from you every millimeter of precious skin, just to get the ants out.  Make you listen.  Free you from your desperate thoughts of the future; a horrified cow-mere feet before the blood soaked apron and the rivet gun.  More than you are haunted by your dead future, come to skulk at you, I am haunted by my ill-fated past, insipidly slithering idly toward fate’s poised hammer, about to strike.
You stare out at the drawn shade, its rectangle of pinkish light like a collection of hungry fingers creeping round its edge to remind you, “Time slides along”.  Your shallow breathing level, barely audible, even in the deathly still of this room -- So controlled.  Your control shall avail you not, friend.  I oughtta know.  See me.  Come on, try it.  I see you well enough, or is this merely the illusion created by the persistence of memory?  Should a dead man even have a memory?  It’s real, I know it.  See me.  Focus your eyes onto mine, here right in front of your face.  Move! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

July 14th 2018 GNG Meeting

The Guild members pick words for each other to inspire this week's offerings.


Suicidal- lady outside- distraught

The sun’s rays ride the air current to warm the skin. Such a beautiful contrast to the crisp coolness of the water that surround the feet. The breeze blows the hair that carries the sweet scent of the nearby cherry blossoms as the music plays. The hands brush the delicate grass nearby as a tiny bunny nibbles on its goodness. Birds chirp merrily on a branch above. The world vibrates with life. So full. It’s bursting to sing a song. I stand in the water surrounded by life’s notes like a Beethoven’s sonata. Melodious strings and piano fill my ears, wrapping around me. But it can’t get in. Just like the sun, the air, the water, the life, it can’t get in.

And it tries. The music looks for cracks and crevasses to penetrate down deep into my soul. Some of it gets in. Hooray tiny notes! Husah for you! You made it through only to be sucked into the darkness. The void my soul calls home. You are not enough to fill it. The sunlight is not enough to overcome my darkness. The air isn’t strong enough to blast away the blackness. I sink to my knees in the chilly water. The cold doesn’t bother me. I have always been surrounded by the cold.
Or no not always. Somewhere in the memories of this husk there was warmth. Yes! Yes, there was warmth. Once. It flitters at the edges of the mind and my heart twinges. It, no, her, yes, her. She was the warmth, my light and my sweet… My sweet. Yes, she was sweet, until she was wretched away from me. Ripped apart and left broken like a brat’s discarded toy after a temper tantrum. The chill creeped back in. The music stopped piercing my heart. I sit down in the cold-water stinging, nipping at my breast.

It hurts now. Not the cold. Oh no, the heat, the air, the smells, the sounds. They all hurt because I knew. I knew what it was supposed to be. I knew how full and robust life should be. A shadow was cast over me just like the shadow I cast over her tiny frame. My eyes couldn’t make out the difference between the red blood, the white bone, or the raven hair. She deserved light. She should have never been born to darkness. Carefully, I moved each limb in place, wiped the blood from her face and gently picked her up. She deserves this light, not me. I deserve to be swallowed by the void that is eating away at me. There it is, the shadow, he looms.

“She knew better,” the shadow growls. “You should have kept her safe. You deserve to be in her place,” he says.

“You’re right,” I replied as the music stops. I move back to my knees and pick up the limb doll I laid on the river bank. Even now her warmth tries to reach me as I clutch her to my bosom. Just like that, the water engulfs us. We sink into the murky depths as the final tendrils of the void consume us both.


(alFalaq, for some reason, lost the beginning of this piece. LOL)

Burning pain stabs through the meat of my left arm.  It feels like fire is raging inside my very bone.  Daring a glance, I see my shoulder, too close to my face and out of focus.  Beyond that, my quivering bicep, spasming randomly with each renewed gust of blazing pain.  Beyond that, a tangle of red flesh and torn skin, wet and sloppy with blood.  Nothing else.  My head swims in and out of focus and heaviness lies on me like a two-ton weight.  I’m not sure if my lungs are capable of breathing for much longer, or if they have been crushed in the fall.  I came here from the tree, visible a good distance above.  I remember having been in the tree.  I twist my eyes back up in its direction.  My temple throbs with the effort.  The ragged form still sways, a dark fruit under the mass of leaves.  Corrina was still there, in the tree.  She had gone through with it.  Just as she had promised.  Just like everything she had ever said to or done with me.  She had brought consistency and believeability to my world, a person who always did what she said, reliable and true.  She was the counterbalance to my frivolous, noncommittal habits.  I loved her.  I needed her.  There could be no real world without her, just the wavering, suffocating gel of my shadow world, so despondent and untrustworthy.  I became real with her.  Gained substance, was allocated a real spot in the world of people, a place where reality and expectation were real.  Pain was shooting through the center of my head, somewhere in the back of my skull.  It felt like jelly against the rocks.  My eyes lingered on the scene above, a macabre fruit dangling in an un-felt breeze.  My reality was there, a real world and a savior crucified on living wood.  Once again, she had succeeded where I could not follow through.  True, always, to her word.

How could someone of such light and heart ever have been convinced to follow a path such as this.  The end of the path was evident, even defined early on.  She knew where it all was leading, but she came willingly, like the Holy Lamb.  I guess, for once, I had finally found my place of power, some type of strange gravity that drew her along and, knowing what I knew, I stayed the course.  All of any number of times I should have strayed, abandoned ship, aborted the mission, I couldn’t.  The one thing in the world that ever offered any value at all to my existence was in peril by my own design and I knew it and I just could not sway from what I knew I was doing.  Bastard.  Pain like living flames burned inside the arm I no longer had, pushing all reality to the edges of my consciousness.  My heart beat pounded in the rent flesh like a mallet.  Serves you right, asshole.  I look skyward.  Corrina’s form floats above me, swaying under the verdant canopy of leaves like a child in lay in summer, dangling from the noose.  I gave up and fell; she followed through and swayed in the breeze.  Reaching out with my mind, I try to feet the detached portion of my arm.  Sensing it, I form an image:  the bloody stump of forearm dangling somewhere, the lifeless hand still stubbornly clutching some outcropping or limb where I had thought I could save myself.  Coward.  Ever in life, a coward.  In death, a coward.  Corrina, courageous in her love for me, danced side to side above my misting eyes.

Mia Maine

Emotion: Bloodlust
Image: Vampire bathed in blood and carnage
Feeling: Out of control
Word: Hungry

The melody of experience.
I stretch languidly upon a limb high above the lives below and listen to the rhythms of existence below.
Immersed in my own imaginings of the passersby beneath.

High hummingbird like fluttering of a first kiss
Deep, staccato stomps of anger
Slow, slithering slaps of depression.
It all blends and becomes white noise
Yet, every once and a while, like an off-key note in a symphony, this will peak through
It’s like their cells are sunbathed in illumination
And like a moth to a flame, I am drawn in.

A voyeur, it starts with wanting to witness but morphs into wanting to share.
Yet, intrusion is rarely welcomed with opened arms.
Once sensed, trepidation is introduced.
The pace quickens and fear spikes.
Like cayenne in gumbo or lemon pepper on wings, the flavor whets my mouth.

That’s a dangerous thing
A gnawing, destructive, selfish thing.
It envelops

It destroys sense
any definition of the word

It pilots
navigates all action until its end is met

Until bathed in victory
You kneel
Soaked in effort
Finally cognizant and drenched in the aftermath 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Setting the scene: Topics picked by fellow GNG members


A guy who used to be a bald eagle is now a bald guy and doesn’t know why or how this has all happened.

The first mistake is almost following my hunger off the bed this morning.  I don’t bother to open my eyes, because I never do.  The great thrill of diving, face first, out of my lofty aerie each morning, wind rushing past my face and over my wings, the rustle of my feathers, nearly deafening in the morning chill. The spring of the twigs of my nest launching my taloned feet.  Gravity, its irresistible pull, dragging me down toward the yawning crags of the canyon below, hungry for my flesh, hoping to digest my free spirit, but never!  I soar, eyes closed and gleefully untethered by gravity or the world, just me and the rising fire ball of the sun, unstoppable, joyous freedom in abundance!  Yes!!  Again, I am starting my day, already in victory!  I prepare the final note of my daybreak ritual, my signature cry, a shrill scream of ecstatic release, my welcoming announcement of my command over all I survey from on high.  Here it comes…!  And then!…

“Aaaggghhhhhh!!!!!”  Instead a soprano wail of pain and shock escapes my throat, frozen in place by wordless surprise as my head, suddenly unfeathered, bangs hard against something sharp, metal and unyielding.  My body bolts upright and feet with no talons; fleshy, doughy globs of meat with five toes each touch down on some surface as hard and unforgiving as old wood. My arms, naked of even a single feather, reach up reflexively to shield my already battered head and fingers, long, awkward and just as doughy as my feet rub a blank scalp of smooth, bald skin.  The knobby digits rub the space where a rogue night table lamp has crown me as I rose with my eyes shut.  I can feel the wooden floor, polished and smooth, beneath my toes.  Mystified, my mind reels as I attempt tp grasp just how I can even begin to identify such ideas as “Fingers”, “toes”, “night table”, “lamp” or “hard wood floor”.  How can a bald eagle know so readily these commonplace artifacts of the word of man, which to me, a denizen of the stony peaks thrust above the desert wilds, are alien and unnatural.  My fingers trace the shined globe of my bald head, utterly human.  A vague reflection stares back at me from the panes of a window beside my bed.  I have no name.  I have no recollection of this place.  I have no concept of where this place even rests, within the landscape, so foreign, which surely must stretch out somewhere beyond that window.  No memory of any existence, save as a bird of prey, feather-maned and proud, cutting the sky beyond the limitless trees, wherever that now might be.  With no recollection of how I could even know such a thing, I consider the story of the monk whose dream was so real, he woke to question if he was a monk who had dreamed he was a frog, or was indeed a frog who was now dreaming he was a monk.

My reflection gazed back dumbly at me from the cold pane of the window.  A mouth, not mine, opened in the reflection, a voice not mine echoing tragically and full of anguish and crazed confusion ripping out of the reflection’s horrified face:  “WHAAAAAT THEEEE FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK?!?!?!?”

Mia Maine

A mouse and a chicken in an OJ factory. The question is who farted?

Our story opens in a small town in central Florida. Named for its export, Navel is the type of town where the sun rises promptly at 5:45 AM and the roosters crow considerately announcing its arrival. Warm breezes, sweet with citrus, roll over the many orange groves littering this organic haven. The lovely scent gently coaxes the inhabitants of Navel out of their slumber in a way that coffee envies. 

Yet, on this tumultuous Thursday, the citizens of Navel were jettisoned out of their comfortable trances by a septic stench so rancid that it induced dry heaves upon consciousness. Imagine, if you will, as their dreams dissipated and conscious thought tickled the edges of their psyche, a putrid perfume plays with their newly awakened sinuses. Their noses twitched in alarm, their eyes popped with concern and their stomachs rose in protest. Imagine that all twelve hundred Navel occupants shared that experience simultaneously. 

Naturally, we'd want to know why and how such a thing occurred. Who is responsible? Explaining the why and how will take a while and the who will blow your mind. I'll reveal all when I have more time…

Yvonne Walker

Dusk on NYE in 2199….

The air hung heavy on the town below. Up here the atmosphere is breathable. Yes, I could finally breathe again unaided. Or as much as I could before, everything went south. I read about this place in a book once. The hill with the only surviving tree. It’s so big but kinda yellowish green. The book said there many of them and they use to be the bright green of a neutron star burning out. Don’t worry tree, they don’t know what is coming for them. No one does. Not even Jerry. 

He didn’t get it. He would never understand the sacrifices that were being made. So much of the beauty that once was has been replaced by the whine and whirl of machines. The LED and laser lights blind us. Making the night seem like dusk. But it’s not dusk, is it? No, it’s close to midnight. Almost time. 

There always seems to be a constant borage of images; some good, others bad but all of them desensitizing us. To what end, I don’t know. Jerry seems to think they are training us for something new and exciting. Travel to space, make your fortune, see the stars. 
Stars, yeah right. I can’t remember the last time I had seen stars. Not from the valley, at least. Even from up here, I have to squint and tilt my head to the left. Maybe then I could tell the difference between a star and a satellite.  Maybe. But if it’s moving, it probably isn’t a star. 
That’s okay. Pretty soon we will all be able to better see all the stars. 30 minutes to go. Those damn lights are twinkling away blinding us to the truth. Everyone is partying into the new year. Even Jerry. Go ahead, get glammed up. Paint on your happy faces and drink away your problems. It won’t be long now.  

10 seconds now. Oh, there, in the distance, the first lights went out. Ha ha! I knew it would work. 7 seconds, I wish I could see the look on Jerry’s face now. More darkness, it’s spreading. 5 seconds, the machines are winding down, I can hear it. 4 seconds, it is getting quieter. 3, uh oh, I hope people can run, that’s not a star falling from the sky. 2, I can see them now. They’re so beautiful! The stars! 1, Happy new year, tree!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The road so far... GNG gets back to work

We were so caught up in our projects, that I neglected to post our work from this year. Here are the most recent posts and look for future posts as well as new books from the GNG.

Name- Tomas; 
Animal- salamander; 
Place- swimming pool; 
Thing- silver tea service; 
Magic- cornucopia 

Great Escape 

     “Tomas, be careful,” Maya whispered. Tomas, shushed his friend and edged closer to the basket. 

    “Be quiet. We don’t want to wake her,” Missy said, grabbing Maya’s paw. “Tomas is a salamander. He knows what he is doing.” 

     “You’re right,” Maya replied edging closer to the silver tea service that had been haphazardly tossed onto the table. The little mouse, twitched her whiskers as she held her breathe. Tomas was so close to the basket now. They would be able to feast for years off of the food that was in there. What did Missy call it? A cornucopia of treats. 

     “That’s what the two legs called it. Cornucopia. There is always food in it. It never ends. With winter coming we need to get some of it,” Missy, the chipmunk whispered. Both furry rodents perched on the tea service as Tomas disappeared over the edge. 

     “What if Big Meow shows up?” Maya squeaked. 

     “Tinker is keeping watch on the window sill. Nothing bad is going to— Uh oh!” Tinker’s wild chirping sounded just as Big Meow let out a yowl and pounced. Tomas appeared back over the edge of the basket with food in hand running towards his friends. Just then Big Meow turned and readied for another attack.  Missy and Maya held onto one another and squeaked. 

     “Hold on!” Tomas shouted as Big Meow pounced. He slid onto the silver tea service making it tip forward and slide off the table. It bounced and launched the three friends and their food into the air. They held on for dear life as the tray slid them through the open door. Big Meow missed the frighten trio and rolled into the basket causing food to fall onto the floor. But she wasn’t down for long. Big Meow took off after them as they scurried further into the backyard. Tinker flew in to distract Big Meow and it worked. As Big Meow took a swipe at the bird, she missed and ended up in the swimming pool the two legs hadn’t covered up yet. 

     “We did it,” Maya squeaked as they beat a hasty escape to their hollowed out tree. They even managed to secure more of the fallen food for their winter’s rest. “Thank you, Tomas, we have our own cornucopia now!” 

Name: Archibald
Animal: Zebra
Place: Neatherlands 
Thing: Leotard
Magic: Fairydust

A Limerick:

Archibald was a man from the Netherlands,
Who had an affinity for the dope brands
So he climbed on his Zebra,
Shook his leotard to tease yah,
And with a poof of fairy dust,
He popped 'round for pizza

Name: Grant
Animal: Giraffe
Place: Galapagos 
Thing: Grace
Magic: transmutation

Twilight in Galapagos

Inspiration, this Grant silently prayed for. A dozen hours stacked on top of one another in a ladder of time and yet he was still no closer to uncovering the mystery. Demure and elegant, Grace lay stretched out before him. Quiet and patient, she was enjoying his thorough exploration. He was respectful, meticulous and utterly mystified.

Grant could answer the who, what, where and when. She even told him why. Yet the how eluded him and science insists upon the how.

When questioned how Grace was able to turn a chrome lug nut into a platinum ring or a pile of index cards into a stack of 50s, she cocked her head to the side, smiled politely and uttered two words: “Child's Play”.

Grant returned to his work and in the quiet of his concentration, Grace shared; “I saw a man turn a tree into a giraffe once.” Silence reigned as he considered her words. Grace eased out of her chair while imparting  the following: “Matthew 21:21. I'm not there yet. Today I believe, but one day, I'll know." Grant turned towards her, intent upon gaining clarity, but she was gone.

Surrounded by an ethereal aquamarine glow, in the birthplace of Darwin's evolution, Grant remembered the story of another who was similarly gifted and wondered if He was the man she referenced.

Name: Esmarelda
Animal: dog
Place: stonehenge
Thing: grass
Magic: magic

Stonehenge and Back

     “Mmmmm,” Esmarelda intoned.  Her voice had a subtle richness which showed through most beautifully in those instances where simple vocalization outweighed the need for words.  Eyes closed, she faced east, allowing a silent breeze to animate soft, raven curls hanging like willow leaves at the curves of her cheeks.  Pietro trotted back and forth through the open grass somewhere behind her, tasting the same breeze, though probably not enjoying it nearly as much.  He could see she was deep in thought, which most likely did not bode so well for him.  And also, he needed to pee.  He waited, ambling aimlessly from giant stone to giant stone, all arranged in a great circle, where they had stood for dauntless centuries atop this grassy knoll, trying to decide which would make the best site to relieve himself.  Esmarelda remained fixed, statuesque and radiant in the mid-morning sun, breathing deeply and evenly.  Pietro knew what she said next would be of utmost importance.

     “Good one, Fido,” she announced without warning.  Pietro’s aura, which had been hovering at a mild deep green while he had been anticipating her mood, slid down into a brackish sort of ocean blue.  Yep, this wasn’t going to be good at all.  No need worrying about making it any worse,  he thought and lifted one leg next to one of the grand stone pillars, selected at random.  Esmarelda turned, her opened eyes falling on the scene of Pietro, glowing that dingy deep blue, wobbling precariously on three legs, a weak stream of yellow pee dribbling onto one of the weather worn, venerated columns of Stonehenge.  His small round eyes, framed in their furry, furrowed brows, were an equal mix of guilt and blamelessness.  He tried looking up at her a few times; it was difficult to do while simultaneously keeping his balance.  The dribbling pee on the stone, like tea being poured inanely onto a sidewalk, was the only sound.  Esmarelda’s slight frown deepened, forcing creases into the space between her eyebrows.  Okay, so maybe it could get worse after all.  Pietro’s aura descended the next couple notches into an almost dirty brown, similar to the short fur on his tail.  Despite his obvious embarrassment, Esmarelda refused to look away.  

     “Really?” she asked accusingly.  Pietro didn’t think anything he could say would help; he just focused on trying to get out all the pee, so he wouldn’t have to worry about it during the next jump.  Esmarelda, politely, waited patiently for him to finish while, quite rudely, remained staring directly into his furry face the whole time.  Pietro dropped his leg and attempted to regain some semblance of normal composure.  His aura held at that dark, dirty bronze hue.  A few abashed upwards flicks of his eyes sent the message that he was indeed done.  Esmarelda cleared her throat softly.  
     “Any time you’re ready,” she began dryly, “can you let me know what we are doing in Great Britain?  I showed you this:” she produced a tablet, its illuminated screen brightly displaying a photo of a giraffe, lazily milling about on some savanna somewhere.  Pietro was acutely aware that the photo in no way resembled their current scenery here, in the chilled morning breezes wafting through the towers of Stonehenge.  He sniffed idly; something familiar, a fragrant sweetness, danced along over the grass laden hilltop, buoyed upon the cool air.  He couldn’t place it and it nagged gently at the edges of his attention.

     Esmarelda looked about, her eyes alive with unspoken thoughts.  
     “Okay,” she sucked her teeth, “options…wait.”  She shook her head.  Something was troubling her, too, perhaps something just beyond the edges of her own attention, not unlike Pietro.  

     “Something…” she muttered through mashed lips.  “There’s no time for this,” she sighed.  Esmarelda knew that Renee had also accepted a token on the Seek Contract.  

     “Renee The Fae,” she mumbled absently.  There was no telling how many others had also made the grade as bid holders on the contract, though it was rapidly seeming more and more likely that the cast of the net was probably much wider than she had originally expected.  Which meant that competition would be fierce and time would be tight.  No time for foul-ups, especially where Renee The Fae had a hand in things.  There are competitors, there are adversaries and then there’s a nemesis but Renee The Fae was more like a full-on force of Nature.  At her nicest, she was uninhibited, at her worst, she was all the contents of a razor blade factory swept up in a hurricane.

     Pietro had wandered to the edges of the ancient stone circle, staring out into the idyllic countryside.  Nothing seemed out of place but the soft, sweet fragrance kept making its way into his nostrils.  It was a pleasing scent; he couldn’t figure out why it troubled him so insistently.  But it did; quite so.  Behind him, he could hear Esmarelda’s agitated shuffling, as though the battling frustrations and considerations of her acute mind were spilling over en masse right onto the dew-drizzled grass.  He decided he shouldn’t tarry too long out of range, though he was much more at ease with the silent distance he had placed between them.  He knew she had not yet unleashed her full admonishment for his monumental error.  She was too busy with other thoughts.  This certainly was no African savanna.  How exactly had this happened?  

     Esmarelda’s mind must have been circling in toward the same focus, as she suddenly cast her widened eyes skyward and announced resolutely, “No.  Causes.”  Her thoughts of Renee The Fae had shifted her focus.  She knew they needed to push ahead as quickly as possible, but first she needed to get an idea of what they were up against.  She glanced over toward her canine companion where he stood, framed between two giant pillars of stone.  He had his nose stuck out into the breeze, his tail hanging low behind him.  His aura hadn’t changed from that dirty brown glow.  It was true he wasn’t a perfect seekcharm, but by no means could he be considered a slouch.  A misstep this far reaching was more or less out of the question.  No, something else must be at work here.  She deliberately opened her mental vista as widely as possible, allowing herself to be sensitive to all elements in her memories and thoughts, but like the despised song that won’t stop playing in the back of an unquiet mind, she could not shake the image of Renee, persisting more insistently among the swirling mass of all the others.  She had an impulse to dismiss this as the artifact of her personal bias and keep sweeping the catalog of items filling her mind but it didn’t feel right.  Spontaneously she decided to just accept the image of her nemesis, with all its disturbing emotional charge, and follow where it led.  

     Taking a moment to prepare herself, Esmarelda pulled in a deep breath, made herself quiet and imagined the feeling of a stone-like weight falling gently down through her body, coming to rest in her feet, a feeling of being firmly planted.  She opened space in her attitude, like that of a sincerely curious person, questioning and free of expectation.  Only then, did she carefully move again into the panoramic swarm that was her collection of thoughts, memories and considerations of possibility.  It unfolded in her mind, an encompassing nimbus, busy and vibrant.  Each element was brightly colored and well defined, happily awaiting her consideration.  Except for one discomfiting spot where, right close to the front, Renee hovered, a little larger than life, as could be expected.  Around her form spun a tangled array of blurred space, washing all elements within it in an uncertain light which stripped them of contrast and definition, dissolving their immediate beauty.  They seemed sad in that space; helpless.  This was the cloud of chaos Renee carried around pretty much everywhere she went, the lingering and potential effects of her formless decisions and malicious spontaneity.  Esmarelda steadied herself against the sudden repugnance this scene aroused in her, taking care to remain mindful and open.  Too much precious time could be lost if she were to let herself get dragged down suddenly in some emotional quagmire.  

     Through the thin veil and small window that connected her to her physical surroundings she could hear Pietro panting rapidly somewhere close by, like down by her legs. “Hold on, buddy,” she said, still needing to keep her concentration on the the troubling image of Renee before her.  She allowed items in her view to move about in accordance with her need to discover the truth.  All Truth Is Known, she knew.  Discovery is the real skill in answering any question.  Along with the items dancing, marching, sliding and tesselating in her mental view, Esmarelda could feel other things moving below the surface; emotional things, intuitive things.  She was quickly resolving in favor of her earlier idea that Renee the Fae was somehow behind this huge error in their calculated trajectory.  The verdant plains of Britain were certainly not the tawny savannas of central Africa.  But what exactly had happened?  She centered her attention on Renee and her worrisome miasma, and let it lead her along, sliding effortlessly back into the recent past.  Within a breath, she was standing once again in the subdued amber glow of the antiques shop where they had begun their trip.  She could smell the earthy scent of aged oaks and cedars, somewhere a little less intrusive, the tinge of tarnished brasses and silvers.  And something else; far beneath the chorus of the other scents, almost imperceptible yet, insistent.  A sweet fragrance, like berries ripening on shrubs.  A wet, tickling sensation filtered into her consciousness, allowing her to realize that Pietro was now licking her fingertips and whining thinly but somewhat urgently.  “I need you to hold on, Pete.  Let me work this out,” she said soothingly.  She retracted her attention back into the antiques shop.  The fragrance was there, now all but impossible to ignore.  Something else was amiss, as well.  Out of place, maybe?  Out of context?  Out of context, that was it.  Having asked, she suddenly noticed it: on the back wall, far out of normal sight among a flurry of bric-a-brac and seemingly neglected items, a straw broom, hanging plainly and slightly askew.  A throwback to a bye-gone era, this was the grandmother of straw brooms, an actual bundle of wheat straw, bound together into a wispy floor brush.  Though the design was admittedly ancient, the item itself seemed almost unused and was certainly no survivor of centuries of ownership and use.  It fit all these old things in ideal, but had no place here physically among them.  Esmarelda took a step towards it and, realizing she would need a complete picture of the events that had transpired here, sought to invite along her friend, companion and seek-charm, the other relevant element in this mystery.

     She reached out her left hand, feeling for Pietro.  The backs of her fingers brushed the familiar damp spot of his snout, a welcome and friendly sensation.  She reached for his ears, rubbing his small, fuzzy head.  “Come on, bud.  Need your help,” she offered, picking him up.  She cradled him in her arms like a little package.  She wanted to lend him some comfort through the process; she knew this was going to be extremely uncomfortable for him.  Seek-charms were physical travelers with a talent to render portals between two selected regions of space.  They were intrinsically chthonic creatures; interior travel could be horribly unsettling for them.  Some cases had occurred where the seek-charms had become irreparably confused and had even lost their ability to travel.  Esmarelda patted the soft, short fur along his side, tussled his floppy ears.  His miniature rib cage undulated rhythmically with each breath.  She knew Pietro was aware of what was coming, but he trusted her; he could feel it through his weight, nestled stoically into the crooks of her arms.  Let’s just make this as quick and painless as possible, Esmarelda thought.  “Okay,” she said quickly, affirming her hold on little Pietro, “let’s go.”


Exercise: Write a paragraph and then re-write it with new wording

Sorcerer By Mr Adrian

The old sorcerer smiled kindly to the cluster of children eagerly awaiting his arrival in the courtyard. The young prince, however, was still skeptical of this old man possessing any arcane abilities at all. As soon as the elderly spellcaster sat on decisively on the stump of a recdently felled tree, the Prince stepped forward. "How do we know you can really use magic?" the boy asked impatiently, "anyone can just walk around and say they can, after all." "In that case," the sorcerer replied warmly, "perhaps a display of magic would be in order?" The prince gave a single nod, the same way his father would have done to a royal advisor. The sorcerer simply lifted one wrinkled hand to the sky, as if forming a perch. The prince stared at the timeworn hand, expectant, yet unimpressed. It was only a moment later, however, that his eyes widened as a rather large crow soared down from the sky seemingly from nowhere. With the light shift of its wings, it perched directly on the old man's hand. The other children cried out with delight as the prince stared mesmarized at the creature. Its eyes were deep spheres of stained glass the color of rich soil. Its wings were a smooth jet black and reflected the very sunglight around it, creating a dark glossyness that resembled polished obsidian. The prince smiled with wonder. "Another! Another spell!" he begged excitedly.

The timeworn Arcanist sneered at the entourage of curious children, who had been following him around the courtyard since his arrival. With them was the young Prince, whom didn't believe the old coot had any power whatsoever. The ___ took his seat on an ancient fossil of a tree stump as old as the he appeared to be, and moments later, the Prince stepped forward. "Well spill it," the Prince demanded, "can you really use magic or not?" At this, the old man leaned close to the boy and with a malevolent grin relpied, "Would you like to find out?" The Prince gave a slight nod, the way his father would dismiss a prisoner to be beheaded. The ___ lifted a single frail hand to the sky, as if insinuating something were to land on it. To the children's surprise a large crow swooped down from some location no one could see. The ashen avian preched on the outstretched hand, claws grappling to the deshiveled skin. The children gasped and jumped back while the Prince evaluated the nightmarish entity. It's wings were sleek and even the light that shone on them gave off an ominous tone, as if the bird glided on blades of Stygian Iron. Its eyes were the worst, the glazed color of swamp mud staring the Prince back into his own eyes with an intent of malice that could only ever be understood through eye contact. "Again," the prince proclaimed with a smirk, "let's see you do another spell."


Exercise: Write Bluegrass Verses based on the rhythm of the song "O Death" Song by Ralph Stanley

My mind does race in this chosen land
I cannot tell what’s in demand
Red states will do what orange commands
Only time will tell what is at hand.

Young Bill went down to the creek
Goin' to catch a fish to eat
with his pole and net in hand
the only thing he caught was a tin can

There was a mule, so stubborn still,
He coul’n’t be moved, not versus his will;
One day he set on the railroad track,
The one-thirty came, now he’ll never be back.