Tag Archives: writing

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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Eighty-four years ago a man was born in Flushing, New York. He married young, at age 22, fresh out of the Air Force, with a promising career as a civil engineer. But with the first child born, and then twins right after, that dream was dashed.

This man was my father, who died six years ago today. Six long years. And yet every morning I still say hi to him, wish him well, hoping that he’s doing okay in whatever dimension he resides, smoking a cigar right down to its wet spinach stub and cradling a glass of chardonnay.

My Dad’s passing was the first time in my life I experienced a close death. I guess I was lucky over the years, through my thirties and forties, never witnessing a death, never having been to a wake or funeral.

That all changed six years ago, when my dear Dad died from—what was assumed—a massive heart attack. Who knows? There was no autopsy. Christ, there wasn’t even a wake or funeral. It was as though this man who lived and breathed on this beautiful blue planet suddenly vanished, with no fanfare at all.

He was whisked away, only to be subsequently burnt to ashes in a matter of days, still wearing the golf shirt, overly long shorts, and tennis shoes he wore when he died. I never did give him a proper good-bye. I tried, but when I called the funeral home, the woman informed me that “I’m sorry, Honey. He’s on his way to the crematorium.”

I remember that day, six years ago on August 10th, when my brother from Florida called me and told me that Dad had died.

I was floored. I didn’t believe it. I was pissed, angry, confused, bewildered. I ran into the backyard, bent to the ground on both knees, and wept, big, wet wracking sobs.

To this day I still cannot fathom that he is…gone.

Dad, even though some family members have said in the past for me to get over it, I still greet you every single morning with a hearty hello and plant a kiss on the portrait I did of you. The picture above was taken a day before he died, on Friday the 13th, 2010.

Or who really knows? It could have been August 14th, the morning my Mum returned from vacationing in Maine, where my Dad was just there the day before. She found him lying face up, his legs resting on a chair in the living room, as though he was doing sit-ups, lying there staring at the ceiling, his last gaze probably looking at the years-old resin stain from countless Christmas trees dragged and hoisted into the room. Maybe he thought, with his last dying breath, he wondered how he could get rid of that stain, having not seen it from this angle lying on the floor.

And then he released his last breath.

How do I feel on this momentous day, the sixth anniversary of my father’s death? I am still angry. I still miss him. Terribly.

I love you, Dad, and wish you much comfort. Know that at least this offspring, one of seven, still think of you—every single day.

Happy 84th Birthday, Pops!

With much love,

Paul Harry

 

© Paul Grignon – 2016

All Rights Reserved

100 Word Flash Fiction…

My good friend, Eric Alagan, at Written Words Never Die, has posted a wonderful opening to a story, one filled with intrigue and suspense…all in 100 words.

His flash fiction is called, ‘By Chance‘, and you can access it here. Please do go there first and read his story before reading further along.

I was so fascinated by it that I decided to add the next chapter to his superb story line. And then I added some more.

Below are a few scenarios I concocted, all hatched from Eric’s excellent idea.

Without further ado, here are my own vignettes, every one coming in at 100 words:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Everything ok, honey?”

Madrilene paused before answering.

“Yes, Michael. Everything is…perfect.”

Michael stared at her for a moment and then settled back into The New Yorker.

Madrilene held the cup in her hands, and felt the warmth of the coffee through the porcelain. She remembered  how warm Ben’s hands were, after he cradled her in his arms when she stepped back and stumbled at the fair.

Could it really have been two years ago?

Now here he was, his trademark Galoises perched between his lovely lips, that faint constant stubble above his mouth…

“Next stop is ours, Sweetie!” Michael said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ben watched the train pull slowly out of the station, belching great gobs of steam into the cold November air.

She looked as beautiful as ever, he thought.

He yearned to touch her face once more.

Standing on the platform, he waited until the train was but a dot on the horizon, the only tell-tale sign of its passage the plume of smoke that lingered briefly in the sky.

Ben gazed in the distance, his eyes fixed on the smoke, as though it was a tether keeping Madrilene close to his side.

Two years had passed.

And now she’s back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The article failed to hold Michael’s interest. His thoughts were elsewhere.

He had noticed the man on the platform staring at Madrilene. He knew that look.  The man was smitten with her.

He knew that look because it was the same gaze he possessed when he first glimpsed Madrilene’s extraordinary beauty. How could the man not be enchanted?

Michael chanced a sideways glance at Madrilene. She was staring out the window, watching the fields roll by, thinking about…what?

Him? That man on the platform? The man with the dangling cigarette.

Michael looked down. He noticed her coffee remained untouched.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His magnificent eyes!

Madrilene watched the landscape roll on by, a gray blur to the crowded thoughts coursing through her mind.

Imagine that. Two years had passed, and he remembered.

He remembered.

That simple nod from the platform. Was it of regret? Understanding? Of forlornness?

His eyes seemed so sad.

The memory of them crinkled in laughter, as they shared a bottle of crisp chardonnay in the field, a scene stolen out of a canvas by Millet.

The warm, summer sun, the fresh scent of sunflowers…

She turned.

“Michael, my dear, would you mind getting me a glass of wine?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And so the scenarios go. And I do have to thank my good friend Eric once again for posting this wonderful prompt.

Feel free to add your own story to this delightful little exercise.

I’d love to read your words.

©Paul Grignon, 2014-All Rights Reserved.

Character Immersion…

So I’ve been woefully neglecting my WPI, a Dystopian love story that takes place in the near future. For added authenticity, I thought I’d live my protagonist, a slice of ‘his’ life. I thought it a good idea to get into his head, to better get into gear and off my sorry ass to finish my damn novel.

‘K. stands hidden in a stand of pine in the dead of winter somewhere in New Hampshire. He contemplates his life now, of what has transpired in the past few months, years even.

He is fond of Jack Daniels and, cloistered under the cover of shadows, he pulls out a pint and takes a long swallow.

He stands and gazes out at what the country has become. He then thinks of J., a woman he met briefly, only once, and yet that one time is etched firmly in his head……’

So begins my manuscript. Well, sort of. Don’t want to give too much away in style.

I thought I’d immerse myself in his shoes, feel what he experiences, and with that visceral approach, I thought it would stimulate me to put pen to paper.

So here are a few visuals to help you ‘feel’ the mood of my book-in-progress. (The revision part is hell, isn’t it?)

011Taken from inside my barn, internal temperature about 15 degrees. My writing pad, and a shot of whiskey. On the chair rests a plaid shirt that belonged to my Dad.

014A painting I did of my father. He looks down at me, balefully, seemingly shaking his head at his wastrel son.

020That’s me, sitting in the same chair, whiskey in the foreground. Here I sit in the cold, feeling what my protagonist feels, thinking about a myriad of things.

015Paintings by Sargent and Chagall keep me company, another artistic Muse that lies dormant, as evidenced by the next photo.

016Ah yes, there it is. My vacant easel. At least the wood panel residing on it has a coat of gesso. In the upper left corner is a painting done by my grandmother, restored beautifully by my brother Joe.

017And here sits a jumbled mass of frozen paints. Perhaps in the spring they will thaw and I’ll be able to slap something on that vacant canvas.

013But back to my protagonist, his scotch, and his thoughts.

I sit in that chair, sit in the god-awful cold, feel what ‘he’ feels, and then I begin to put pen to paper.

Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes.

‘K. pockets the bottle and descends the hill. Thoughts of J. weigh heavily in his mind. He must find a way to…’

And so continues my revision.

Do you, on occasion, ever ‘live’ your own character?

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2014-All Rights Reserved.

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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The Write Stuff…

Yeah, overused title and all, but apropos of late. I know I have been remiss in my postings. Excuses? Sure. Who doesn’t have them?

New house, new job, new responsibilities. But who doesn’t have these things? A few variations, granted, but in the end it remains the remaining time in the day to park one’s buttocks into  a relatively comfortable chair and begin to write. Again. And again.

My good friend Eric Alagan, at his superb site, Written Words Never Die, reminded me of this—in a way—when he wrote me and mentioned that he’d stopped by my blog, but found nothing new. He was a dear soul,  a fellow writer, taking the time to stop by my site to see if anything new was up and about. I was chuffed by his comment.

Chuffed, yet alarmed as well. It made me wonder how many other people, who have perused my site in the past, had done just that; paused briefly to check in, to see if I had written anything new. New words, new insights, clever stories. But no. They stopped by only to find nothing.

What the hell is this rambling all about? Well, it’s about goddamn writing, that’s what. It’s about getting your (mine) goddamn ass into a chair and write. And if we don’t do that, how the hell can we call ourselves writers?

On that note, due to the unintended prodding of M. Alagan, I shall once again commit pen to paper, a keystroke to monitor, and produce something to ply online. Have I been writing? Yes. On napkins, on backs of envelopes, stray ragged papers, a torn receipt here and there. But not sitting down in a chair, composing something of length.

I have written this in one stretch, lying in bed, pissed at myself for allowing so much time to have elapsed since my last posting of my dear Pops.

If one does not commit pen to paper, every day, than the flow, the rush, the spark, is lost.

We all know many quotes from published authors, about the need to do just that. Sit, every day, and write. I won’t belabor these individual quotes, as you already know them.

Stay tuned. I will appreciate that. And I will continue to write and blog, much like Eric does, on a regular basis.

I thank you, Mr. Alagan, for stirring my prose once again.

Until my next blog, here’s to all my fellow writers. Banish hesitancy; begin to write.

The flow of words will allow that long lost smile to once again embrace your face.

©Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.  

A Moving Experience…

Whew!

Man, oh man, I hate moving. We just pulled up stakes, as of June 1st, and this is the first time I’ve had a moment to breathe and get back to my blog.

It’s not simply a case of packing and moving in a single day. No, far from it. In fact, it took an entire week just to pack, and a handful of days to move, and I’m still in the process of sorting things out. (I know one of the cats is around here somewhere…)

So much has transpired of late, and I am woefully behind with my own blog as well as some of my favorites. Like my good and intelligent friend Eric Alagan’s elegant blog Written Words Never Die, or the hilarious Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds, and of course a plethora of other fine sites.

Lately, the urge to purge to has never been greater. No, not that kind of purge. I mean the kind of saying the hell with a mountain of boxes and just simply tossing them into the trash. I cannot believe how much ‘stuff‘ we have.

But we have moved into larger digs, with more privacy, and the house comes with a huge barn and a massive attic, ample space for storage and for the felines to explore. Oh, and Andi you might ask? He’s acclimated himself quite nicely, thank you.

So MUCH more to say and discuss and tell, but for now more boxes and packages and sorting awaits me. We don’t have cable yet so I’m typing this at the library. (Poor Andi is in his crate–his room, I should say–and so I shan’t delay too much.

Suffice it to say I will be back very soon, to peruse many blogs and comments and lovely stories from fellow writers. I apologize for my silence, but a glimmer of the end (of moving) is, mercifully, nigh.

Mr. Alagan, I WILL make all attempts to get back to your fine writing very soon, and I look forward to reading your new material!

Thank you all for your patience, and I cannot wait to get my writing chops back into a semblance of order.

For now, take good care, and keep on writing!

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.

And then I bit him…

So begins the writing prompt on the site of write to done. This is an excellent place for showcasing your writing, and to get the creative juices flowing.

The link for this particular “scene-stealer” prompt is here. Go there and follow the rules in posting your piece. Have fun with it! As they say, ‘think out of the box.’ Please do read some of the postings as they are entertaining and vary tremendously.

And here is my contribution:

And then I bit him.

The reaction never varied. It was always the same, no matter the man.

Shock, disbelief, horror. It was comical. I could time it to the second.

Every man succumbed.

The late nights trolling the bars, wearing my kick-ass mid-thigh leather skirt and knee-high boots, a revealing top with plunging neckline, the outfit never failed.

And tonight was no exception.

I never tire of my game; the coquettish stare, the toss of long blonde locks, the slight open-mouthed pout, the fondling of my wine glass. The come hither look.

I can see it in their eyes. Always dilated, nostrils slightly flared, the shortness of breath.

He pays the tab, we exit the bar, he drives or walks me to his place, and then it happens.

I tell the man to get undressed and lie on his bed. I tell him to wait for me. I tell him I will just be a moment.

I linger in the bathroom, allowing the excitement and anticipation to build in his mind. Of what might come.

But what comes is not what he expects.

I come, slowly, out the bathroom door, slowly, and pad naked to the bed. I stand before him and stare into his eyes.

He reaches for me, but I admonish him: “Don’t touch.”

He lies back, aching, waiting for my hot sultry smooth skin.

I climb onto the bed and crawl towards him, watching his face, waiting for the moment.

I slowly straddle him and slowly lean across his body.

He’s tense, hard, agitated.

I let my locks caress his face, his chest, and I bend down to whisper hot breaths on his sweating skin.

It is exciting and erotic.

That is when I plunge my incisors into his carotid, and feel the hot sweet succulent smell of fresh blood as it erupts upon my lips.

I pull back and watch his face, watch as his life ebbs with every spurt of precious blood.

The reaction never varied. It was always the same, no matter the man.

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.

ALSO: Don’t miss Eric Alagan’s Gallery of Writing at his superb site Written Words Never Die. Here is the link to it. Eric always enjoys your contributions and comments, and his site is one not to be missed!