The smell of the breeze through the open windows
on the beaches of California
She zips up the bag and slings it over her shoulder wishing she had some whiskey to wash down the regret. She grabs her felt hat and resists looking over her shoulder as she heads out the door; tying her bandanna around her wrist and tightening the knot with her teeth.
backwards and holding her thumb up in the air when she feels the right vibe.
She makes up a story about who she is and how she came to be walking along the side of the road with her whole life in a backpack.
She’s 25 (give or take six years but somehow being under thirty makes her seem more trustworthy and like less of a fuck up). She just graduated college. She just came to the area to visit family.
She hops out at a strip mall. She waves until the car turns onto the highway. Then she crosses the street and goes into the greyhound station.
Thankfully there isn’t a security guard checking tickets at the door so she finds a bench to sit on and leans her head back cradling her back pack on her lap.
They pull off into a coastal rest area with fire pits and campsites. She says her goodbyes to her traveling companions and she hops out to pitch her tent. Her new neighbors offer her scrambled eggs and rice wrapped in tortillas.
She’s only a few hundred miles from the punk house.
In the early hours of dawn she peeks out of the tent flap to watch a few of the caravans drive on down the highway.
She stays wrapped up her blanket listening to the waves in the distance until the fog burns off and then crawls out of her tent. She breaks down her camp and hikes up to the highway on-ramp. She makes a sign to prop against her bag and then changes it after an hour.
She sends postcards to the addresses scribbled on the inside cover of her notebook. Dropping them in postboxes like sowing seeds she will never get to see flower. Her boots kicking up dust. Clinging to her like memories, stamping her feet on the dry earth trying to shake it off, trying to forget.
It feels like a hedge maze and they consider they made a wrong turn but the GPS is telling them to turn left and she thinks about the satellites circling the planet plotting a trajectory of the car inching along the the bumpy terrain.
It’s the mountains in the distance that she longs for, getting high enough to look down; beyond and further than she’s ever been. Fading into the horizon. Betting the world against her courage.
Sonia Terra grips the ladder and gives in to the temptation to look down at the track rushing away beneath her. She pulls herself up another rung. She has to keep going.
She hears Lynessa’s cries in her head again when she is violently jerked sideways as the train approaches a bend in the track. Sonia is granted an expansive view of the landscape ahead; squinting through the night.
There’s still twenty miles to the bridge she knows is no longer there.
Sonia swings herself onto the roof of the rear car and starts moving along the train as fast as she dares.
A Protector in love with a mortal, how adorable. I mean really, they are just so very fragile.
Elias could have just turned her in to The Authority but instead he had taken Lynessa, had tortured her.
Sonia doesn’t have a plan but if she can warn the operator she might be able to save Lynessa and keep the train from plummeting into the canyon.
A sharp pain shoots through her head and Sonia drops to her knees on the corrugated metal. Her lover’s screams call out to her again and Sonia cries out in harmony gripping her temples.
I’m coming my love, I will save you, don’t give up, she begs silently hoping Lynessa can hear her through their blasphemous psychic bond.
The whistle of the train brings Sonia back to the present and she pushes herself to her feet.
Elias had removed the bridge with a wave of his hand. Said she couldn’t save the train, as she was bound by creed to do, and save the woman she loved. Told her she would have to choose.
Love makes you weak Sonia Terra.
You’re wrong Elias Dorran. I will save them and then, I will come for you. That is a solemn vow.
Sonia walks down a darkened passenger car. Most of the riders are sleeping but she pulls up her hood in an attempt to hide the markings on her face that might give her away.
She’s walked the length of two cars before she sees a patrolman approaching.
She sidesteps into an open seat and sits down waiting for him to pass on to the next car.
“You’re a protector aren’t you?” comes a female voice from across the aisle.
“I am that which you have named. How can I aid you believer?”
“Please, I need healing.”
The woman’s hand is hovering in the air covered in the pockmark scars of the wasting illness that has been turning mortals into something inhuman.
Sonia can’t afford the strength it would take to help this woman, she has to get them to stop the train without exposing herself and hope that she will be allowed to return to her beloved.
Sonia reaches into her pocket and offers the woman a string of beads.
“Take these to the Oracle in Vohpolis, you will find the help you seek there.”
Sonia continues her quest to the engine car. The clock is ticking and she has promises to keep.
Edit: here's the link to the poll for this round - http://www.livejournal.com/poll/?id=206
Dr. L.J. Weeks adjusts his bifocals as he looks over the file one more time. He chances a glance into TS8’s holding cell but the subject still shows no sign of improvement. She’s huddled in a corner with her knees tucked under her chin. Her lips are moving slightly repeating the same phrase over and over again, the only words she’s spoken for days now.
There is a sigh and Weeks looks up into the eyes of his colleague the young Dr. Lydia Idyl.
“I fear her madness is progressing,” Idyl says staring wistfully at TS8.
“She was the perfect candidate for the experiment,” Weeks says removing his glasses to rub at his right eye.
“So were the last seven. How many will we go through before you admit that it can’t be done?”
“We might still be able to isolate the variab-” Weeks is interrupted by a high pitched laugh from TS8’s cell.
Idyl moves to the wall and presses the button to turn on the intercom system. Instantly the lab is filled with the frantic whispering of their young test subject. “No. No. No. No comment. No comment. No comment.”
“Turn it off,” Weeks says tiredly.
Idyl complies and turns her back to the cell.
TS8 laughs, hysterical, and begins rocking slowly, running her hands through her hair and yelling loudly enough now to be heard through the Plexiglas walls of the cell. “No comment! No comment! No comment! No comment!”
“It’s time. Give her the sleep serum Lydia, if you would?” Weeks says rising to his feet.
Idyl nods and begins filling a syringe.
Weeks steps up to place a hand on the Plexiglas. TS8 looks straight at him.
“You were by far my favorite TS8.”
She smiles broadly and mouths the words no comment.
Exactly 300 words (not including title)
[For Lola, my favorite mad scientist, thanks for never giving up on me]
Update: Here is the link to the Poll for Week 8: http://www.livejournal.com/poll/?id=2
We made it to the top 100, so go show some love to the
You're three thousand miles away from where you want to be so you decide to get drunk.
You wander through the back-streets and back-alleys of San Francisco with the bottle in one hand and the stub of a joint clutched between thumb and forefinger of the other.
You circle the blocks not really paying attention to your turns but it would be pretty hard for you to get lost in this city anymore. You know the neighborhoods by the architecture and can navigate by the weather. The sidewalk never ends here.
You're trying to find a story, chasing an idea:
An old woman passes peacefully in her sleep. At the gates of heaven she's greeted by her husband who had gone ahead of her eight years earlier.
“What took you so long?” he asks, leaning against a chrome and black motorcycle.
She's too awestruck to answer but when he calls out to her again using a nickname she always claimed she hated in life she feels herself laugh and is surprised when it doesn’t become a shuddering, rattling, rasping through her chest.
She leans on her tip toes to kiss him on the cheek, inhales the scent of pomade slicked through his hair.
“One of these for me?” she asks tapping on the pack of cigarettes rolled up into the sleeve of his white t-shirt.
He tucks his aviators into his pocket and pulls out an engraved silver Zippo holding the flame out cupped between hands.
She blows out the smoke asking, “So where's this boat I've been hearin' about for so many goddamn years?”
His grin lights up his eyes and he swings a leg over the motorcycle kick-starting it to life with a growl.
“This road trip's just getting started. It's still miles until we reach the ocean.”
You push yourself up and start walking again, fishing for the Bic in your pocket.
You decide you can't remain objective when recounting the tales of your grandparents who raised you on National Park Stamps and Highway Atlases, gave you a nickname to use over the CB radio, a taste for greasy spoon breakfasts and retro roadside attractions, and the bittersweet curse of wanderlust, that would one day give you the courage to live on your thumb and a prayer.
She was only fourteen when they met in a boarding house and he used to knock on the floor to signal he was home and they should sneak out together. Eventually, there was a shotgun wedding and four more children.
He had a heart attack when he was thirty-six and lived on disability for the rest of his days. He became the neighborhood handyman and an avid fisherman.
They liked to scare you with stories about a woman who gave birth to a monster that still lurked in the Pine Barrens and an eccentric heiress who was so convinced she was haunted that she never stopped adding rooms to her mysterious house in an effort to confuse the spirits.
To you all they ever seemed to do was fight but after he died suddenly and unexpectedly, while patching a hole in their roof, at the ripe old age of seventy-three she was never the same; and you learned that for them “leave me be,” meant you're mine forever my darlingand “why don’t you take a long walk off a short pier,” was I still love you so much my heart might burst from the saying of it.
Three thousand miles away from New Jersey you mourn her death in your own way and hope she knows all the stories you never got to share and stumble drunkenly through through the city of San Francisco thinking that maybe, just maybe, when your grandparents threatened to leave you on the side of the road for the Jersey Devil they were saying: be brave kid, we love you.
Dedicated with love to Robert and Mary (who is not a horse)
*You can take the girl out of Jersey but you can never take the Jersey out of the girl*
Edit: Here's the link to the poll and other entries for this round: http://www.livejournal.com/poll/?id=206
To save the people of Earth, The Few must join as one.
The Final City will rise from the ashes of the old world.
All among the few who have survived The Final War and swear allegiance to The Final City will be become a part of the whole and reside in adherence to the Law of Conformity.
This is the Final Great Act of Humanity.
Update: Here's the link to the poll for this round: http://www.livejournal.com/poll/?id=2061
It doesn’t say Beloved Mother and Grandmother because she’d had it made up ten years ago before the oldest of her beloved stepsons had his children. Six years before she and I were reunited.
I read the stone again and start to slip through time and space as I have done before, existing at all times, feeling all things at once; a vaguely psychic awareness, or maybe just a symptom of a melancholy disposition.
We are here to visit my great grandmother who is interred two spots over. I miss her so much, my grandmother says and I touch her arm gently.
The warm southern winter breeze blows through the low hanging palms.
Some unknowable but surely inevitable future is reaching back to me from a day when I will be standing here and missing both of them.
My grandmother motions again, this time to the grave above her final resting place to tell me that this man never has flowers. They grow up, move away, never make the trip out, she explains.
Again time and space contracts around me. I make a promise to myself to make the journey back to this place when the time comes wherever my tumbleweed life leads.
I take a final look at the stone before we turn to walk back toward the car.
I feel her then, the specter of days yet to be, a thought form who will be born on the day that the blank space is filled in but for a moment I see her clearly, she is holding the hand of a lover; they are just passing through town.
This future incarnation looks younger that I would wish for her to be keeping our vow but then I’m constantly told I look nearly ten years younger then my actual age. I take after my grandmother. She never admits her age but her birth year is engraved in my memory now. I look over at her, dyed red spiky hair and meticulously applied makeup. The woman whose example has saved my life more than she knows.
The car pulls onto the paved road and the early afternoon sun spills over the dashboard. When I catch my own reflection in the passenger side-view mirror I close my eyes until we are back on the highway.
Inspired by the therealljidol break week topic: A possum ran over my grave.
Based on a roadtrip I went on with my grandmother yesterday,
I couldn't resist posting it even though I had decided not to enter the break week challenge.
**reposted becasue I totally acidentally deleted the orginal!
or It's All Just a Matter of Time
if he’ll sit this one out,
AN: I guess I have a thing for even numbers so this one is 250 words
Down The Road And Back Again
“I didn’t feel like going,” I lie at the top of my lungs.
“Are you going to come down? Or do I have to go up there?”
When I don’t answer She ties her blue and green flannel shirt around her waist and climbs up settling into the V of a branch next to me. She pulls out the pen that was poking out of her messy bun of dark hair and takes my arm; starts drawing on the back of my hand.
“Did you’re mother get the tip I left on her nightstand?” She asks.
“Shut up,” I mumble and try to pull my hand away.
“I’m just saying, it rocked my world.”
“Stop.” I try to interrupt her but She keeps going and I am really tying to pull my hand back now but also laughing and I gasp out. “You’re going to make me fall.”
She looks up then, directly into my lopsided gaze. “I would never let you fall.” She says with a sudden hysterical deadpan and then drops the pen, letting it slip from her fingers to land on the ground.
“Oops,” She laughs and swings down after it.
“You should try it,” She says.
“No.” I say shaking my head. She doesn’t pressure me. Never pressures me, never gets angry that I don’t always make eye contact and that I am afraid all of the time, and somehow makes me feel like I am cool anyway. We hide our secrets under Lisa Frank stickers and She always convinces me to go home.
“You can’t leave yet, you got a part in the school play…you can’t miss my birthday…the science fair…the battle of the bands,” She says.
Don’t leave…not yet. We beg each other.
She doesn’t come to school for a week and I drive my bike over to her house. We watch South Park and pet her dog. Her mother makes us bagel bites or maybe spaghetti-ohs.
She’s battling her own demons, hiding behind black lipstick, exorcising them in the desecrated dolls hung from the ceiling of her bedroom; spinning on their brightly colored nooses and staring blankly at me with their lifeless shiny eyes through the flickering candlelight as we listen to the new Marilyn Manson album while I write all the words that I like on the toes of my low top converse knockoffs with her red Sharpie. I pretend that if I don’t name the monsters out loud, they aren’t real.
I hope she forgives me for writing this because despite being born with flawless comedic timing I know how much she really hates being in the spotlight. She’s the Hilary to my C.C. and if push came to shove I’d be the Louise to her Thelma but it’s the Golden Girls theme song that really tells our story; thank you for being a friend.
Another flash fiction, this one is exactly 750 words (not including title)
Edit: Here's the link to the polls for this week http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/956
I end up as an eternal castaway. A diaspora of one; a nomadic lone wolf moving through life with all of my material wealth compacted into the space of a single steamer trunk that I grasp onto for dear life while trying to keep my head above water.
Marking the years by the beds/couches/corners I have slept in.
It’s a curse, I realized eventually, but the thing about this curse is I never know until it’s too late; until it’s time to plot a course through the storm.
I wear out my welcome and I mosey on down the road. Riding out on the very bridges they’d built to bring me in on, letting the fires burn infinitely in my wake.
I keep my eyes on the horizon and never look over my shoulder.
I learn I thrive under pressure and find the most peace in the days it comes down to my basic needs for survival. I keep a bug out bag and carry a water bottle wherever I go. Semper paratus*.
It’s all the same story and I live it over and over again until I am running out of money and vices.
I send out a distress signal.
I wake to 5am alarm clocks for eight hundred days; commuter busses and packed lunches. It begins to wear me down, like sea glass, dulling the senses. I’m squandering time and my own fullest potential.
I’m homesick for moments spent around campfires with guitars and complete strangers and for a time I burned through notebooks like forest fires; pouring whiskey on the ground. My heart beats a bluegrass ballad for the wind under the wheels and miles of Americana passing me by.
I cry out for mutiny.
* Latin phrase, meaning "Always ready". It is used as the official motto of some organizations, such as the US Coast Guard.
AN: This was my attempt at trying to write "flash fiction" and is exactly 300 words. (Not including the title)
Edit: Here is the link to read all of the entries and vote for your favorites: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/953
She whispers it to herself. It’s a worry stone, a call to mindfulness.
She flicks ash off her fingertips; blows smoke into the air.
She needs a place to hide; thinks the pain in her shoulder is a pinched nerve.
She is given permission to seek refuge in the beat up beige and blue, faded but still mostly functional, Ford Conquest parked along the side of the sprawling corner lot community where she currently hangs her pointed hat.
She tries to remember to introduce herself by the right alias, making sense of her tumbleweed life: The place where she is Sparrow; the place where she is Rebecca, Becca, Bird, Faerie Ann, Wanderlust.
She flips through her latest notebook searching for inspiration.
She feels unoriginal. She is the metallic creak of the step up into the wood paneled and brown carpeted interior of the decrepit caravan.
She catches her reflection beyond the herons etched into a decorative mirror, runs her fingers through the bright purple spikes that took thirty two years to grow in.
She wishes she took more chances when she was younger.
She’s jaded and armed with sharply edged rhetoric but still afraid of the mundane nothingness to which her path could lead.
Who knew it would be the pound sign and not bar codes that would brand us, she speculates as she opens the windows against the oppressive mid day heat.
She’s trying not to forget she has wings and not so secretly wishing for rain; resisting the impulse to run away again.
She is the most at peace when she is in motion.
She reminisces about highs and bad trips. The most expensive thing she owns is her pair of hiking boots. She writes tawdry romance novels that she never lets anyone read. Has let countless cups of coffee grow cold at her elbow. Would almost always rather be reading.
She longs for wild Oregon forests, dusty Arizona truck stops, San Francisco rooftops, her best friend's front porch.
She reaches out across the wires and they trade favorite iconic cinematic introductions:
“Thank you Max, for that marvelous introduction.”
“How do you do? I / See you’ve met my / faithful handyman…”
“When I introduce you, and tell them who you are, I don’t think anyone will stay for dinner.”
She can feel Saturn moving forward again. She has been reborn in the cosmos. She lives in a perpetual state of forgiving and forgetting and not actually giving a fuck.
Surrounded by blood this time she is trapped among palm trees and plastic pink flamingos.
She watches her grandmother conjure bubbling pots of the most delicious food to feed the tribe of lost souls the woman has taken in, and who fill the rooms of the way-station community that have currently sent her into hiding.
There is nowhere for her to write here.
She contemplates the park a few streets over but instead lays down on the flower print pull out couch. The sun slants across her face and she recalls that sensation of waking up covered in sweat as she tries to find a comfortable position for her shoulder.
Just breathe, just breathe, just breath… She whispers to herself.
signups are still open (join in the
madness fun madness ): http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/945
I got an email notification thattherealljidolis starting up again! I am so in!
I only ever got to do the "final" season and it legitimately changed my life. It's returned right as I was trying to get back into a regular writing habit so, you know, it's obviously a sign.
Coming back to this journal feels like entering an enchanted dust covered attic, a long disused place that I used to love; a place where my imagination ran free. I felt challenged and motivated and inspired the last time I participated in LJIdol and I'm excited to be a part of it again.
Charles Bukowsi once wrote “If you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don’t do it.”
I was totally inspired by the prompt for LJ Idol this week so I’m kind of shocked to be hours away from the posting deadline with about three half-finished stories and a strong desire to take a nap (or just hide under the bed).
I had planned to work up until the deadline hoping to manage a suitable entry but my heart’s just not in it today. I had a bit of a stressful morning at work and I can’t seem to get my writing mojo activated.
I was really enjoying the challenge of LJ Idol and I really don’t want to be out of the game yet but since I will be working and camping at the Faerieworlds Art and Music Festival the whole last week of July and will likely be without internet (and I am all out of BYEs) I might as well bow out now.
At this point I was mostly competing against myself to see if I could stay in the game until I left for the festival anyway. When I signed up I never imagined I’d make it this far and I exceeded my own expectations.
I can honestly say this is the first time I have done anything like this. I hardly ever shared my writing before with anyone ever so the feedback I’ve received during these last few months from friends, family and the LJ Idol community has been unexpected and overwhelmingly encouraging which makes it even harder to admit defeat.
I will Home Game as much as possible, and read and comment, and generally lurk around the LJI community. I truly wish I had found therealljidol before its final season. I don’t think I would feel so sad right now if I could just sign up again next time. Maybe I can try to get back in during the second chance thing I've heard about if it happens.
I would like to take a second to thank the great and powerful Sir Gary who is just kind of amazing to take on this much work so that someone like me could have a reason to be writing and a community to share it with.
LJ Idol has made me a better writer, a bolder writer; someone who actually feels like I can call myself a writer (a poet…a wordsmith).
I leave you with a picture of The Poet’s Chair on the third floor of The City Lights Bookstore one of my favorite places in San Francisco.
TL;DR This is a sacrificial goodbye post. Thank you for making a noob feel so welcomed and encouraged. Gary/LJI is awesome. Oh my gosh I’m a writer.
Baby This Will Only End In Tragedy
You meet me in the park at midnight and in the darkness when we see the stars you say, “See. I told you that they were there all along.” But the skeptic in me tells you, “You only see them because you want to, because you have been told to.”
When you left, I used to pile the extra pillows next to me on the bed because I missed the presence of you. I used to cheat at board games to let you win because the smile that was you, was always worth it and the way you laughed made my body feel like it was made of some sort of vapor that could float around the room. I wanted to catch the echoes of your laughter and hide them in my pocket for a rainy day. Because even then I knew you’d leave me someday.
It’s been almost three years and I still haven’t met someone who makes my heart race the way you did. I haven’t invited anyone into my bed that could make me believe in heaven the way you did. I want to look in the mirror again and see myself the way you did.
The weight of my fist connecting with your cheek bone rhymes with the feeling of your fingers inside me for the first time. It seemed as if a thousand years passed between the sound of my arm rising and the slamming of the door but I counted your breaths and the beats of your heart even as I wanted to tear you to pieces and it was only a few seconds before you were gone.
I fell asleep with your name on my lips trying to find you under the sheets because I couldn’t forget the way our bodies fit together like puzzles pieces, like a mystical ancient lock slotting into place and the pillows never felt the same. I broke one of your toys and I’m still not sorry but if you would forgive me anyway I promise not to let you down again okay?
Baby, I don’t think I could love you again and not lose my soul. The truth bleeds out through my fingertips, leaves stains like ink on your skin when I touch you.
Maybe if we tried we could read words there. Hidden messages giving us direction, my lips becoming the ciphers, reminding me that you like it when I run my tongue along the line of your jaw and here I am kissing you again when I promised myself that I wouldn’t, but suddenly, I don’t need you to convince me that the stars are really there and for you I could live without my soul because maybe “soul mates” are meant to share.
Greetings From Camp NaNoWriMo,
Cabins were assigned today. There are 11 other participants in my cabin and one of them is writing a horror novel but so far I am the only one who’s posted on the message board.
I am super excited about the live write-ins though! The first one was today and they even read and talked about one of my comments.
It’s an Open Topic for LJ Idol this week which if you can believe it is harder than than having a prompt?! I really hope my muse comes through with something.
That’s all for now unfortunately.
Working split shifts is double edged for me because on the one hand I feel like I am always going back to work but on the other hand I to have a lot of free time during the day. It’s a compromise.
1. There shall be no doubting one's self
2. Write everyday.
3. Remember to drink water and mind the cabin plants.
4. Write the story you would want to read.
5. Editing and Deleting is strictly forbidden
6. Be open to making new friends, go for walks outside, take pictures and send postcards.
7. Everything in Moderation (including s'mores)
9. Be in your bunk by lights out.
10. Be inspired.
*(reposted from the camp nanowrimo forums)
I signed up for July Camp NaNoWriMo today! I set a Goal of 10,000 words.
I worked out a rough outline of the back story but only I know the first sentence of the second chapter. I am not quite sure yet what happens after that.
I am so excited and already inspired. Only two more days until cabin assignments!