Shout at the devil

Language warning




Stewart felt his eardrum strain to the point of rupturing. The shouter, a scrawny, shortish guy dressed like a dollar-store demon smiled moronically at him, clearly waiting for a response.



Before he could stop himself, Stewart had responded, “WHAT?” Continue reading




It’s the way he looks around that is hardest to take; the frightened look of a traveller lost in a maze of indecipherable alien symbols and incoherent foreign chattering. Smiling and nodding at everything, agreeing to anything, defensive actions to prevent any exposing questions from the unknown strangers that his family has become.

Dementia feasts on the fresh memories, eroding the hard won lessons and experience of recent times, washing out new images like overexposed film. Only the deepest scars of war, the darkest prison-shadows cast against his mind remain un-devoured, and he clings to them, a raft made of lost and dead friends floating in a sea of confusion.

The present is reduced to a twisted television signal, more static and noise than picture; but the war is left behind, colourful, focused.

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photo credit: .tms via photopin cc

photo credit: .tms via photopin cc

When my Grandfather hated, he called it duty. Attacking the trenches, killing the enemy, glorifying the dead and the dying.

My father rejected my Grandfather’s way, he despised the violence, the bloodshed, the slavish obedience to the politicians and generals.

When my father hated, he called it faith. Attacking obscenity, stamping out heresy, protesting against freedoms.

I rejected my father’s way. I despised the ignorance, the idolatry, the slavish obedience to the church.

I am a man of science. When I hate, I call it reason.

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Reading with intent: Musing on writing

Non-Fiction Books

Non-Fiction Books

It is a well established truism that in order to write you must read. You must read.

Stephen King:

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

Ray Bradbury:

You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.

Read broadly, read widely, read deeply, read frequently. Read within your tiny genre and read well outside your comfort zone. Read, read, read, goddamnit read already. Continue reading

Hello, Norma Jean

The ritual completed, the last note hanging in the night air like a promise before… silence.

A gentle, seductive scent slowly filled the air. Chanel No. 5. A sudden, shockingly warm breeze rushed from the cemetery ground, air escaping from a non-existent subway vent. Almost invisible except for a gentle opacity, ephemeral cloth billowed in the air, an intangible white dress, flirting, never exposing, what was underneath. Continue reading

The sommelier’s mistake

Photo Prompt: Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

The sommelier wiped a stray hair away with his right hand. “Now madam, may I suggest that with the braised beef cheeks you try the ’97 Beaujolais. A light-bodied red, I think you will find the fruity acidity surprising.”

The napkin flicked out with a right-handed flourish, billowing out flat before floating to rest on the unpleasant customer’s lap. His mind wandered, remembering her annoying complaints on previous choices.

Dead silence.

He quickly unclenched his left hand from her throat. She pitched face-first into her food.

He had made a rookie error.

He hadn’t allowed the whine to breathe.


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Young Minds And Books: A Dangerous Combination?

An excellent post from Allison Maruska that I thought deserved re-blogging. I also figured it would be an excellent way to cover a day in which I’m not going to have an opportunity to write anything of my own! Allison’s post reminded me of this following article from the Philosopher’s Mail:

“Rather than regarding these stories as grotesque spectacles that all right-minded people should avoid, the philosopher Aristotle looked generously upon the human fascination with them. He proposed that, when they are well written and artfully staged, such stories can become crucial resources for the emotional and moral education of a whole society. Despite the barbarity they describe, they themselves can function as civilizing forces.”

Offensive subjects, Violence, Tragedy – provided the material is handled artfully and well written, they can be a motivating force for good, for change. Banning all books that handle material like this denies the young reader an opportunity to learn from story, to learn from the mistakes of others, or the mistakes of the past.
– An excellent read.


Allison Maruska

This week is Banned Books Week, a week to contemplate the various works of literature that for whatever reason have historically been deemed too dangerous for public consumption. Where the Wild Things Are, The Diary of a Young Girl, and The Old Man and The Sea are among them. The one that surprised me the most was A Light in the Attic. Many of these books were written for young readers and placed on banned lists by adults claiming to guard the interests of said young readers. Tuck that away for later because I’m coming back to it.

Something else has happened this week, and I’m trying to decide if its overlap with Banned Books Week was planned or coincidental. In the suburb of Denver where I grew up, teachers and students from several high schools, including the one from which I graduated, are striking and staging protests against a…

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