Dino in the rye…

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Field of rye

Just finished rereading Catcher in the Rye. I loved that book as I first read it a hundred years ago, when it gave me a lump in the throat I carried around for a long time. I wondered how I’d react to it now that I’m an old crock.  The lump is back and who knows how long it’ll last.

I never forgot the hyper-awareness of Holden Caulfield. I couldn’t imagine his ever being happy. I still can’t fathom his finding a way to break through his own loneliness to bond with someone on an equal footing, even though I still hope he will. As I read this time, I kept thinking about how much grief he’d gone through and how nowadays he’d be on meds for PTSD. And I still love the lines:

“Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.”  Boy, does that resonate for me at this stage in life.
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“When you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “Fuck you” right under your nose.”  Should be the Boomer motto.
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“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”   I’ll always see Holden catching those kids, and the thought gives me comfort.
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Shoebill in the Wild - Uganda, Africa

And why, do you ask, would I put a photo of a Shoebill Stork cheek by jowl with Holden Caulfield? Because some things in this strange and ever-twisting life share a level of perfection. No, not perfection, which is a human concept capable of destroying lives. There’s a shared rightness to both Holden and a Shoebill, and that makes me happy.

Here’s to Spring.

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Crawling out of the hole…

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I’ve been hiding in my cocoon of late. Lots of reasons, none lethal, but as spring screws around with brightening the landscape, I’m beginning to peer out at the world. I replaced my lost cell phone (see previous post) and, thanks to the help of my technically more advanced daughter, have managed to get most of the attachments I want to take up residence in the thing. Now all I need to do is to think of something to say.

I haven’t hung out at Wisdom Court much lately. There’s a character knocking at the door to my mind, but she hasn’t yelled loudly enough yet for me to pay her much attention. She’s too cheerful, and I don’t feel like dealing with that at the moment. I’ll let her come in soon, if only because I need writing to take me over again, but it’s cold again today and my study is a pit. I have years’ worth of files to subdue and slip into slots. If I could capture the cat hair festooning  the furniture, I could make an afghan to keep me warm.

I need to send out a newsletter, but am missing an inspiring message. “Please buy my books,” doesn’t cut it. If Spring will finally extend herself into a hug across the land, maybe my limping brain cells will line up in formation and respond with grace instead of the post-winter whine I hear in my head every morning. My brain has shrunk into a petty nitpicker and nothing’s better at killing the creative spirit. (Yes, that’s an excuse for not writing.)

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And how’s your day going?

 

 

Losing my mind? No, just my phone…

A funny thing happened on the way to walking my dog: I lost my phone. I can still almost feel its weight in my jeans pocket, have looked everywhere inside the house and out, and it’s definitely gone. That little contraption of metal and plastic that holds more info about me and my life than should reasonably be carried around has escaped into the world.

Well, shit.

I’m not even one of those souls who constantly carries a phone with me. Can’t count the times I’ve left it on the table and then needed it while I’m out and about. But slowly, over the years, I’ve become dependent on the thing, have gotten sophisticated enough to connect to some apps, have begun to feel the migration of brain cells to pocket or bag.

And now it’s gone.      pexels-photo-209660.jpeg

I called the company, suspended the line, ordered another phone, knowing full well that when it arrives, I’ll be bitching about the set-up hassle. And I’ll go back to carrying the thing around, fitfully, and missing the pictures I took with the old one. Feeling stupid for not protecting my property. Hoping no villains have absconded with bytes and bits of my info for their nefarious ends.

Maybe I’ll use the event as a plot device in the latest book. Maybe I’ll come up with a clever bit of business that’ll make the whole experience worth while.

Not bloody likely.

I’ll go through the drill, replace info and leave some hidden. And this time I’ll buy one of those signal finders that locates the errant phone. And I’ll try not to take the technology for granted.

Right.

Looking for the spark…

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It’s February and the ground is brown. Leaves left in piles for critters seeking refuge are dry (isn’t the whole state dry?) and they whisper as roaming breezes search for somewhere to hide. It’s February and the air is hard and cold. A few creeping myrtle leaves in a rock garden, liverish green and curled into commas, hint at new life. Nobody’s buying it.

My imagination, some call her Fancy, is perched on a headstone just inside the cemetery, throwing pebbles at a crooked row of  markers. She hasn’t hit any yet. Her knees poke through her jeans, and her mud-brown jacket is threadbare. “I wish you’d come up with a decent idea,” she mutters when she runs out of ammo. Her chin jerks toward the pathetic line of crosses. “One you can’t bury in ten minutes.”

She throws rocks at everything I come up with. “The sun’s going down,” I announce. “We ought to go.”

She shoots me such a look. “It’s one-thirty-two, you dork.” Her arm lifts to point above us at the shrouded sun. “We’ve been out here for less than an hour. You can’t hole up all day and let Nostalgia get in your head. She’s deadly!”

I hunch my shoulders and turn away. “I need to get the tax prep done.”

“There’s a creative idea.”

Fancy brushes past me and I smell cloves, her signature scent. Maybe I should dab clove oil behind my ears. It might jump-start some brain cells.

“Come on, then,” she calls back to me from the gate. “While you work on taxes, I’ll watch old movies. It’ll give me something–anything–to think about.” Her tone is grim.

“Bitch,” I whisper as I follow her. She always grabs at fun while I get stuck with the humdrum. And image floats into my mind. A man humming as he cleans a gun. He has blood on his hands.

“Hmmm.”

 

 

 

Has it been so long?

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Yeah, I guess so. Thanks to the world’s longest-running respiratory crap, the death of our beloved dachshund, Riley, and a generally bad attitude, I’ve left you all unburdened by my jaundiced point of view for far too many months.

DCIM100SPORT Riley the WonderDog

“Self,” I said to the blurry shape in the mirror this morning, “it’s time to climb back onto the horse.”

“Trite,” whispered Self.

“Self-righteous, critical bitch,” I muttered.

“I’m more of a pedant.” Self wrinkled her nose at me as I switched off the bathroom light.

Here’s the problem: My imagination has been lying in a bone-dry arroyo at the edge of a desert for a while now. Not even vultures fly over the spot anymore. But, I keep having these bizarre dreams and my long-suffering husband has described some of the things I’ve been saying while I sleep. The least embarrassing was my rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at about three in the morning. (I got all the words right.) You can take the creativity out of the writer but you can’t take the patriotism–oh, never mind.

The upshot of this situation is, I have to write whatever comes to mind, as sparse as that might be, until I stop these serenades. It’s too unsettling to think of some of the things I might say while under the influence of sleep. Hmmm, there’s the germ of a plot idea in that. Okay, I might give that some thought.

I hope all of you–the eight regulars who breathlessly await my ponderous insights–have launched upon a shiny new year. Really, I do. I’ve been in a funk long enough not to expect that for myself, but I genuinely hope you are finding life fruitful and absorbing. I hope the writers among you are producing vast quantities of clever words and compelling ideas. I hope kindness and reason fill the spaces among our thoughts so we might foster creative ideas.

My sentiments may be overdue, but they are, nonetheless, heartfelt: Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

October Redux and the wandering mind…

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I meant to give a heads up to y’all regarding last year’s post, 31 Days of Spooky Stuff leading into Halloween. (Recycling is a good thing.) Somehow the idea slipped out of my grasp. I just found it under a pile of bones in the long, dark stairway to the basement.

I have been struggling with the fourth Wisdom Court novel since summer, easily my least productive writing time of the year. Something about the plants growing in the garden, as well as insects exploring tiny jungles among trees and bushes call my attention elsewhere. And then there are birds. I’m distracted by the life happening all around me, from critters to children, and the plot points swimming around in my head spill out of my ears onto the encrusted floor.

Then comes the change. The solstice begins to build shadows in the corners, and the sun sidles south, peeking coyly over the horizon come morning, forgetting its bursting greetings in July. Leaves turn into gold coins.photodune-5768835-horse-park-ranch-in-the-fall-s

The nights turn chilly and darkness competes with light, often winning the contest. Ideas edged in fear and dread scurry for cracks in the wall, hiding themselves during the lengthening nights. The landscape shrinks and shapes become distorted.

Muddy beach and dead forest

Soon will come the mix of costumes and greed, of the somber and of fear. We will acknowledge the thin membrane between the living and the dead and we’ll gobble  candy to seal the deal.

Happy Halloween…

 

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Free books and a cozy corner…

…and maybe a slice of pumpkin pie? All sound good to me. Come be a part of our Amateur sleuths Group Giveaway.  Click the link and find 8 Free Amateur Sleuth Mysteries to read. Download any or all.  The deal ends October 2. Happy Autumn!

http://mailchi.mp/ebookdiscovery/8-free-amateur-sleuth-mysteries-ends-oct-2