Leftovers: Of Stories and Such

Large rusty key lying on weathered old books Stock Photo - 15407207As it is the day after Thanksgiving, many of us will be munching on turkey sandwiches, doused with warm gravy and dollops of cool, sweat cranberry sauce. Being such, I thought it appropriate to share a leftover piece of fiction. Here are the first three paragraphs of a novel I started long ago, but never took the time to develop. Perhaps, I should try.

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Timmer Parchmentmade hurried across a dark meadow, a new book tucked under his arm. He was a large man, shoulder and bone, strong like a bear; yet, he cared not for the night, nor the moonlight, nor the shadows that moonlight fathered. Darkness provided a home to many things: brigands and battle cats, wolves and wraiths. Timmer, as big and strong as he was, coward from it all.

“I’ll brandish blade against crag trolls and manticors,” Timmer would often say, “so long as these devils find breath in a book and my blade be parchment made.” And that’s how Timmer found his name.

Timmer walked quickly. Fear made his heart beat even quicker, but he was almost home. Yet, he was certain there were beasts about, each one hungry and lurking just beyond his sight. Yes, he was sure to walk right into Oak Boar or, even worse, a Slobber Goblin, even though he knew Oak Boars and Slobber Goblins roamed parts of the world that were far from his home. Still, his eyes peered through the darkness looking for the terrors he believed would surely be his end.

 

This Writer’s Thank You List

Today, Thanksgiving Day, I thought I’d share a list of things, that as a writer, I am grateful for.

1. I’m grateful for the darkness a pine tree clutches between its boughs, for therein lies, when spiced with a pinch of imagination, the greatest light.

2. I’m grateful, that when I care to, I still talk with trolls.

3. I’m grateful for the cold and the beasts that nuzzle with it.

4. I’m grateful for the way old books smell…and when that smell waltzes with the aroma of pipe tobacco – wonderful.

5. I’m grateful for people who still write letters to those they love.

6. I’m grateful for the time to wonder.

7. I’m grateful for stories.

8. I’m grateful that I’m still learning and still want to.

9. I’m grateful for the breath that fills my lungs.

10. I’m grateful for my hero, Jesus Christ.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Achievement

Although late to this challenge, I believe I met it well. The challenge reads, in part, “This week, show us a photo that says “achievement” to you: people meeting a long-worked-for goal. Something tangible you’ve created. A view from a journey you’ve completed, or the stating point of a journey not yet made or a project you hope to finish. We look forward to being inspired!”

I snapped the photo posted below in June or this year at my son’s karate tournament in our hometown – Vernon, New Jersey.  It sings achievement.

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photo by S. Thomas Summers

 

Waiting Room

Waiting – most feel it’s waste of time: on line at Starbuck’s, in an uncomfortable chair at the dentist’s office, in the bleachers during your kid’s soccer practice. All tis a waste of time. But it’s not.

I’ve discovered and continue to discover that the odd intervals of slow time are vital to me. Each provide me with a small oasis of thought, a brief Eden when I can create, imagine, wonder, ponder, and explore.

Often, at my son’s karate practice, I write. I add to my novel. I record a journal entry. Sometimes, I even create a blog post. Sitting in commuter traffic, I escape by allowing my imagination to step ahead for me. I grapple with goblins who camp within the wood to the right of the roaWilliam Blaked or play chess with a kindly troll who generally prefers solitude, but will open his oaken door to me.

The poet William Blake “focused his creative efforts beyond the five senses, for, If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.—from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell written between 1790-93.”

“Young William was prone to fantastic visions, including seeing God, and angels in a tree. He would later claim that he had regular conversations with his deceased brother Robert. It was soon apparent that Blake’s internal world of imagination would be a prime motivator throughout his life.”

Today, look out a window and let your mind wander. Cleanse your doors of perceptions. Just wait. You may discover some magic.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

An artfully executed minimalist photograph is anything but mundane. It illustrates a moment in time, or an artistic perspective, with simplicity and grace.

Minimalist photography is characterized by a large portion of negative space, a fairly monochromatic color palette with good contrast, and an interesting subject that is able to stand on its own to capture the interest of the viewer. At first thought, it may seem like it would be easy to shoot an engaging minimalist photograph, when indeed it can often be the opposite. A minimalist photo can also effectively tell a story, in spite of its relative simplicity, and it is anything but “plain”.

In this week’s challenge, show us your minimalist photos. Find an interesting texture, color, or silhouette. Maybe there is a story that you can tell with your minimalist photo. Try an interesting angle with your composition to turn a traditional scene into a minimalist one, by eliminating as much of the extra detail in the background as possible. Make sure you’ve got good contrast, and your focus is nailed on the part of the photo that is telling the story, such as the tiny hand in the photo above.

Remember, minimalist doesn’t equate to mundane. Sometimes the simplest photographs make the boldest statements.

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Here’s my effort. It failed to perfectly follow the instructions posted above, but… Does it work?

photo by S. Thomas Summers

Of Feasts and Ogres

I recently read an article about mythology’s monsters: Polyphemus, the minotaur, Medusa, etc. That article got me thinkin’.

Here’s part one of a story that’s not yet finished.

The festival has begun. The courtyard before the mayor’s home swells with the smell of it. Wild boars roast on spits that slowly turn over fires almost too hot to approach. Wine makers offer small cups filled with their labors. Sampling far too much of their own diligence, they always happy. Children dart from table to table hoping that each will offer a more coveted treasure than the last. Cheerful songs rise from the instruments of wandering minstrels, music that mingles with the delicate chips of sparrows. The air is brisk, chilled by the cool nights of a young autumn. All is grand! All is grand! But the ogre… There, do you see it? Placing his wares, small wooden figurines, most likely carved by his own hand, on a table resting in the shadow of a tall oak rising from the courtyard’s center.

An ogre!!!!