Forgotten (Flash Fiction)

WP_20180523_09_57_02_ProThe morning delivery came as usual. It plopped onto the damp ground in the light drizzle and waited to be picked up. As the minutes passed, the rain fell harder, faster.  There’s only so much plastic can do.

Four days later, the sun reemerges, but it’s too late. All that remains are paper pulp marked with tire tracks and shredded plastic. The words will go unread.

 

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The End of a School Year

The school year is coming to a close. That means several things. First, I’ll have more time to actually blog. April and May seem to be the busiest months of the year.

Second, it means saying goodbye to my seniors. Two years ago, my first batch of students graduated. These ones were my 8th graders from when I taught middle school English. Since then, I’ve had graduates every year.

Now, though, it’s a little different. Most of my outgoing seniors have had me both as a middle school English and high school French teacher. That means that I’ve had some of them for five of their thirteen years in school.

Every year, I think about the students I’ll miss. This year, one of them has a special place in my heart. Several years ago, I taught a middle school creative writing class that focused on novel writing, including going through NaNoWriMo together. Some of them weren’t so serious about it, but others really put their writing skills and passion to the test and wrote at least 30,000 words. This student is one of the ones who did it with me.

Even though he’s been in my French classes for three years, we haven’t really talked much about writing lately. That is, until Senior Breakfast. He was remembering great times while holding my daughter. And he reminded me of that creative writing class and the novel he was working on.

Like me, he’s set his novel aside for now. Life is busy, and he knows that novel needs a lot of work. Sounds familiar.

I think the most amazing thing, though, is how talking to him has given me a renewed desire to get back to work. When I started playing around with the formula I’ve been using for years, I wasn’t quite sure that it was working. In the past few days, though, new ideas are starting to occur to me. New layers that I hadn’t considered before are showing up, and I’m starting to wonder if perhaps things should play out a little differently than they are now.

Does that mean I’m going to whip the novel back out and start working? Maybe not quite yet. Maybe I need the pace to slow a little more before I can. But it does give me some fresh motivation to keep going. (I’m sure extra two hours of sleep last night are helping as well.) After all, I made a deal with a certain high school graduate to send him the novel when I’m done, and I don’t want to disappoint him.

What inspires you to get back to writing when you’ve lost motivation or are sucked into the busyness of life?


Reliving My Childhood: The Dark Crystal

As an adult, I realize that I grew up watching a lot of random things.  They certainly explain my love of sci-fi and fantasy, but some of the movies were pretty obscure.

One of my all time favorites is The Dark Crystal.  This Jim Henson gem’s cast is comprised of only puppets, and it was revolutionary. A couple of months ago, it made an appearance in theaters for its 35th anniversary, and my mom and I went to enjoy it on the big screen.

One of the best things about going to special showings like this is the commentary that usually accompanies them. Not only did we learn that the original cut didn’t feature much English (changing that was a good move), but also that there’s more to the story: there are two books about the world of Thra.

While I haven’t read either of them yet, I’m looking forward to learning more about a world I fell in love with so long ago. WP_20180407_14_28_17_Pro (2)

Are you familiar with The Dark Crystal? What are some of your favorite movies?

 

 


What Dreams Are Made of (A Short Story) Part 4

Part 1
Part
2
Part 3

7:32am. Books lay strewn all over Gaila’s desk. She should have been grading worksheets, but she was searching for a different kind of answers. After school the day before, she tried to find the little kindergartener she had seen in her dream. He wasn’t in the car line, and she didn’t know how to ask his teacher about him without sounding crazy. Instead, she hurried to the library and gathered all of the books she could about dreams.

After another restless night, she left early for school and hid herself in her classroom. Strong coffee was her only companion. Together, they would figure out what was going on.

So far, she had read about countless theories on dreams, but none of them seemed like the right answer. They couldn’t account for that little boy’s stare which still haunted her.

Part of her hoped that she would find him today. Perhaps at recess. Perhaps she could strike up a conversation and see if he had the same dream. Part of her thought that this was crazy. Perhaps it meant she was going crazy. But part of her dreaded that it was real somehow. And she wasn’t sure what she would do if that were the case.


The Wrong Way to Blog?

I feel deeply conflicted as I write this.  This post represents a month of debate that ended in the decision to give it a try, even though it doesn’t seem quite right. So what has left me feeling so unsettled? Writing a blog post on my phone.

I know it sounds strange. Perhaps even a bit OCD. But it reminds me of moving into reading ebooks as well as bound ones. The experience feels different, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

There’s a certain delight that comes with writing by hand. The sensation of words passing from hand to ink to paper. The art of loops and lines that are uniquely mine.

There’s a delight to the keyboard too. The click of each letter as it appears on the screen, far faster than my hand could write them with a pen.

On a phone, there’s no flourish or satisfying click. It’s silent. And while I relish silence, I’m not sure if it’s lovely or eerie.

Like many things in life right now, practically rules. It’s the practical option. With a baby cuddled in one arm, it’s impossible to work at a keyboard. So here I sit, phone in hand, wondering if creativity can flow through one thumb.

So what’s the verdict after writing this post on a phone? Like an ebook, it isn’t the same. However, it’s not just how the words end up on the screen. It’s the delight of capturing those words whenever they want to come, and the phone allows that to happen.

How do you prefer to write? Do you write posts on your phone or would you be as hesitant to do it as I was?


A Month of Geeky Holidays

It’s been longer than I intended since my last post, but here I am.

Since the last time, there have been several big holidays on the calendar. Obviously Easter, which is one of my favorites, but there are a couple geeky ones sprinkled throughout as well.

One of the best things about it this year is that I get to introduce them to my daughter. Yeah, she’s only a few months old so she won’t remember, but it will get her started on the right foot in life.

March 25: Tolkien Reading Day/The Anniversary of the Fall of Sauron

This has always been one of my favorites. It’s a great excuse to immerse myself into Tolkien’s works, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Of course, she has just the right onsie for the occasion. (I think my daughter was born to be a Hobbit, like me… though her build might make her look more like an Elf.)

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… Or things that she always seems to be saying to me. 

April 5: First Contact Day

Yesterday is the future anniversary of the Vulcans’ arrival on Earth. (Sounds like something you could only say in Back to the Future.) While it’s another 45 years before they’re supposed to arrive, why not start celebrating now?

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Always have to have some tea. Earl Grey. Hot. And this year, in a new mug from a friend. 

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All Star Trek and all girl. 

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What geekling bedroom is complete without Picard and Worf? 

Do you celebrate any geeky holidays? Did you do anything special for Tolkien Reading Day or First Contact Day?


What Dreams Are Made of (A Short Story) Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

11:23pm. Gaila’s husband was already asleep. She stared at the ceiling. The street lamp cast strange, unsettling shadows. Though she knew she had to sleep, the previous night’s dream and the literal mark it seemingly left haunted her.

She hadn’t told her husband. She hadn’t told anyone. The mark on her hand had to be a coincidence. If she told people that her nightmares seemed to be real, who would believe her?

She tried to shake the dread as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Tonight, she would have normal dreams. Everything was going to be fine.

4:51am. Gaila sat on the edge of the bed again, shivering. The wasps from the night before had been ridiculous, but tonight’s dream had been outrageous.

A relaxing day on a flying cruise ship had turned into disaster. The ship was hijacked by faceless thugs. There was no way to escape, so she searched for the safest place she could find. A walk-in safe would do. Before she closed the door, she realized that a tiny boy was already cowering there.

“I’ll keep you safe,” she whispered as she closed the door.

Even as she bolted upright in bed, she could still feel his trembling body in her arms.

This time, she couldn’t bring herself to go back to sleep again. Instead, she sought the safety of the bright kitchen and a potent cup of coffee.

11:45am. Gaila followed her third graders to the lunchroom. As they hurried to their usual spots, she greeted the passing kindergarten teacher. At the front of the line was a little boy. The same one from her dream. He stared at her, mirroring her confused look as he followed the teacher out of the room.