Monthly Archives: November 2013

Where Words Thrive…

Sometimes, sometimes you come across a site along the vast, seemingly endless galactic stream of the internet that makes you pause and peruse its offerings.

Written Words Never Die, by Eric Alagan, is such a site. Please do, by all means, stop in and engage your senses with his exquisite words.

The reason I mention this site to you is because there you will find a trove of writings that will allow you to contemplate your own writings, a place where you can read varied offerings that speak both to your soul and to your Muse.

Not only will you find choice compositions, passages and word play that will amuse and intrigue, but also heartfelt comments made by the author to any and all replies sent his way.

Eric is that kind of gentleman. He responds to all who comment on his blog. And his words are kind, encouraging, and spot on.

Recently, I accessed an almost year-old post of his, one called ‘Wolf‘, and by reading his words it prompted me to compose something of my own.

But not only that. After posting my response to his own poignant creation, that in turn, prompted me to continue the vein of my rather brief post.

If you have already gone to his original blog listed above, here is my reply to Mr. Alagan’s own potent post:

The Cellar

“Goddamn laundry’, Jake thought.

And then something moved. Off in the dark corner. Some thing stirred.

Jake took to the stairs.

Below, the thing scraped and cackled.

It began to climb.

Can you see how my initial 33-word reply can possibly become more?

Now what, you may ask, prompted me to arrive at this particular story line. Well, let me tell you, if you’ll allow me to bend your ear for a spell. Mind you, it won’t be terribly long. Here it goes:

We live in a 213 year-old house. Needless to say the basement–or cellar–has seen its fair share of comings and goings.

Since we have lived here, from June of of this year we have, on occasion, had to visit this dark, dank, impenetrable sub floor.

At first, the lights down there worked. But gradually, for no apparent reason, the bulbs gave up their ghosts. No more light.

So now, still on occasion, the power to our living room goes out. Poof! And guess who gets to descend those dark, scary stairs to fumble about the fuse box?

Um, that would be me.

So this is what prompted me to continue with the preceding 33-word story line.

I imagine, as I descend those old, creaky, musty stairs, that a hideous creature resides down there. Something foul, rotten, evil.

Something waiting for me.

As I retreat into the depths of this cellar, with a feeble flashlight in hand, the fear and terror grips my nape. My dim light casts only so much light. And in only one direction.

As I stumble about in the darkness, I can’t help but imagine this creature lurching about down there with me, unseen, a dwarf-like, hobbling gnome with a huge head and immense glowing eyes, with fangs and clicking claws that can’t wait to sever my carotid.

I move on, wildly swinging my light about. It is at this juncture when I finally reach the fuse box when I suddenly arc my light behind me and find…nothing.

Relieved I turn back, find the switch, and flip it on. And that is the moment, when I turn once again, to find this gibbering goblin, this ghastly diminutive monster, clacking his claws and snapping his jaws at me, giggling and laughing, his foul, hot breath upon me, and feel the hot searing thrust of a rotten hand into my jugular when I…

…make it up the stairs, panting, slam the door behind me and find no spurting blood about me.

Now that is what a powerful prompt can do for you.

And that is why I return, again and again, to Mr. Alagan’s fine site.

Stop on by. You never what will make you compose your next line of prose.

Just make sure the light is on.

Copyright Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.

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Post Thanksgiving…

Early morning brought a sliver moon winking back from the heavens, as skeletal trees scraped the sky. We sit, my Beloved and I, on the sofa and enjoy the comfort of hot coffee and a warm dog between us. All is good on this morning after a festive November holiday. We sit, and I think about the previous day, a day filled with travel and bellies full after a sumptuous repast.

Thanksgiving morn’ broke with slight trepidation as I wondered just how much traffic awaited us on the byways to the south shore.

Pleasantly though, not a hint of serpentine metal greeted us; no snaking lines of gleaming vehicles inched along the asphalt. Instead, open lanes whisked us to our destination, with only a tiny snag where three lanes reduced to two.

Beside that slight hiccup our journey was met with sun and sparkling waters and, as we approached the end of our trip, I jokingly mentioned whether we’d witness a few hearty souls (or idiots, depending on your take) out on the links.

And sure enough there were a smattering of men, all clad in heavy coats, lugging their carts behind them. They trudged across frozen tundra to locate their respective small dimpled white ball. (Between 380 and 432 dimples, if anyone’s counting. Brains cells, probably a tad less.)

The temperature hovered in the twenties with a whipping wind that dipped the wind chill into the teens. (Perhaps the men were idiots after all.) They braved winter while the women folk huddled over steaming stoves and stoked the home fires.

Upon arrival I chose to perch upon a bar stool and sip a cabernet and take in the aromas of a busy kitchen. Only my eyes ventured outside where, in the distance, a few surfers (surfers!) were catching waves close to a rock-strewn shore. (I surmised these individuals possessed the Y chromosome as well.)

Soon we sat to a laden table lit by candlelight. Hilarious banter ensued, hearty stories providing smiles all around. It was a perfect moment; a gathering of folk nestled near, drinks and food close by, light-hearted chatter that allowed one to forget any hint of worry. Truly a moment spent in the moment.

I gazed at the assemblage; ten people enjoying a closeness and the holiday spirit. I sat there, comfortable, and thought about my family, hoping that my Mum and my far-flung siblings and their families were enjoying just such a gathering, enjoying such a commingling of warm and memorable moments.

The ride home was equally quick, with nary a traffic snarl in sight. Arriving home early allowed me to contemplate such a day. It made me pause and think how lucky I am, one soul entwined with others, truly thankful to have partook in such a healing and calming day with loved ones.

On this post-Thanksgiving morning, I am grateful and give thanks to those who provided my family with such warmth, love, and much comfort.

May your own Thanksgiving have been as healing and delightful as my own.

 

©Paul Grignon, 2013-All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Winter’s Vice…

Pregnant Skies

The gray sky–low, gravid, and calm–waits to unleash torrents of chilling rain. Despite bundled from such brumal weather, winter chills still slither ‘neath frocks and slickers alike. There is no escape.

And poor Andi. Of late our walks have been truncated due to his sad visage. We only manage to go half way before he looks up at me with pleading eyes, begging to turn around.

I stop, and stoop, and ask, “Well, what do you want to do? Go home?”

And with that one magical word—home—he turns around and leads me back to the comfort of our old house.

Realm of the Sauropods

Here are a few shots from a month earlier, a time when Andi didn’t mind going the entire distance on our daily stroll. You half expect an Apatosaurus to rear its lengthy neck among the reeds and grass, with giant clumps of fauna dripping from its maw.

Redwing Retreat

Our walks are calm and healing. Only a month ago did swarms of redwing blackbirds squawk and twitter amongst these very same reeds, chattering away unseen.

But now, the bitter chill of November lingers, the kind of day that cannot shake  frigid frissons from your shivering body. No matter how many layers, the cold creeps into your bones.

Feline the Warmth

Our cats, not accustomed to sleeping together, have found refuge in each other’s midst, a feline yin and yang. And not to be left out, Andi on occasion will drape a heavy paw over a kitty. (I think Boo simply tolerates this and enjoys the warmth.)

Pooch Love

As for us humans, well, we keep this 213 year old house somewhat warm. With plastic wraps around most windows, and having a forced air system, they manage to keep ol’ man winter at bay. As long as there is oil in the tank we won’t allow hypothermia to visit our dwelling.

Thanksgiving is nigh and come Thursday, long travels await us. Let’s just hope those pregnant clouds disappear without too much of a drenching.

“Can we go home now?”

Happy holiday to all. May warmth, comfort, and calm be yours.

©Paul Grignon-2013, All Rights Reserved.  

Guilt Trips…

Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving. – Erma Bombeck.

Has it ever occurred to you, that sudden moment when you think of all the bad things you’ve done in your life, and then it all comes out of the blue, in a titanic wave of memories that leaves you blushing?

What is it that causes such a sudden flood of suppressed and embarrassing thoughts?

You can be at work and a co-worker comes up to you, slightly alarmed, and asks, “Is everything ok? You seem a little flushed.”

And you respond with some lame excuse, even though it feels like you were caught with hand in cookie jar—or worse.

Does this ever happen to you?

Why? What is the point of this dredging from the devilish archives of your memory banks? For what purpose? What does it serve?

If one is of a religious bent, then one can say it is God looking down on you, reminding you of your misdeeds, His attempt to make things right in your world.

That is, if you believe what any religion throws at you.

But what if you aren’t religious? What is it that rears its ugly and blushing visage that mirrors your own? What sundry demons lie within you that need, on occasion, such unwanted purging?

For me, well, the list is plentiful. And over the years I have, with gained knowledge, tried hard to rectify my past indiscretions.

I am in my fifth decade of existence on this spinning blue orb and yet, at times, these strange and bizarre visitations descend. Like the time I was six and knocked over a dresser on the second floor and when my Dad appeared at the threshold and asked, “What the Christ is going on?”, I immediately pointed to my brother Jim and spurted,” He did it!”

Boy, the whupping he got. Jesus. Or the time I worked at The Fair, and stole some hideous orange hot pants for my sister and hid them inside a grocery bag and buried them in the back yard. I was caught, red-handed. I told my employer I was sorry, that I didn’t want them to tell my Dad. I even had to go to court with my Mum for this pathetically minor infraction. Of course she told Dad. But I never—not once—heard a word about it from him.

Or, when younger, still living in Connecticut, my brother and I walked to Grand Union and stole cigarettes (mind you, I was about seven and Jim, he of the welted butt, was eight) and we smoked them (unfiltered, disgusting!) in the woods and went home to Friday dinner of eggs over toast with baked beans, my Mum never the wiser.  (Or maybe she was, but chose to say nothing.)

But then we got caught. And boy, the lecture we received from our Dad! Christ, he gave the best Clint Eastwood approach; quiet and soft, his words spitted between clenched teeth. He walked up and down, surveying his thieving offspring. And then he paused.

The only sentence he kept repeating after that was, “Who can tell me what they did wrong?” We were petrified, shaking where we stood, wondering what ghastly punishment awaited us. We elected to say nothing.

Big mistake.

My Dad kept repeating this phrase, over and over. Still, no response from his quavering sons. Finally he stopped and turned to us. He looked us in the eye and said, in a very soft voice, “I am very disappointed in you.”

That was it. It had the desired effect. We never smoked cigarettes after that.

Years later there were, of course, instances that came back to haunt me, decades that produced the same flushed cheeks.

And it does happen out of the blue. You can be having the time of your life. But then suddenly this overwhelming sense of a guilt trip grips you and drowns you in a quicksand pit of untold self-loathing, making you wonder how anyone in the world could possibly find you attractive, let alone keep company with you.

Guilt trips. Not fun, and certainly not recommended. But where the hell do they come from? Jesus, it’s enough to make one wonder, in hindsight, about their own choices in life.

In a secular way, of course.

Do you, too, suffer from these occasional onslaughts of guilt? It’s a trip not savored, but it would be nice to know if there are others out there who suffer from such unwanted visitations.

Feel free to drop me a line, if perchance you, too, have these pesky and painful mind intrusions.

©Paul Grignon-2013. All Rights Reserved.