Green Apples and Greener Grass

It’s been a topsy-turvy, roller coaster of a week.

On the good side, though, things seem to be looking up.

The notable San Francisco bookstore, Green Apple Books, is now carrying my poetry book, Quantum Singularity: A Poetic Voyage Through Time and Space. I am tickled…well, green, in this case! It’s at the Books on the Park  location on 9th Avenue: http://www.greenapplebooks.com/book/9781546682141.

Even more wonderful–green apples are my favourite (accompanied with a nice aged cheddar). How awesome of a synchronicity is that? And it certainly fits in with the theme in the poetry book, in more ways than one. “…I reached for you and caught apples on a string…” (from a poem in the book).

Thanks to Green Apple Books! Don’t forget to support your local bookstore!

Also, Seattle Book Review wrote a lovely review about my poetry book: https://seattlebookreview.com/product/quantum-singularity-a-poetic-voyage-through-time-and-space/.

I took the week off from the current day job for certification training in a different line of work (hence the “greener grass” part). The training for this potential new day job was held at the Hilton Santa Fe. In the letter that was sent around, it stated that lunch would be provided. I was thinking a sandwich tray and chips, so the first day I brought my own lunch (being vegetarian). I was not expecting what was actually provided. In the morning session, there was coffee, tea and pastries and/or muffins laid out. Lunch was a hot buffet with a salad bar, and even dessert. Afternoon? More hot coffee and tea, and a snack. This went on for all five days. Talk about feeling spoiled. (And, yes, there was a period of harsh adjustment when I resumed the current day job this week.) I can’t tell you how much I missed the hour lunch and the delicious meals. So, if I pass the test, I will be certified by the State of New Mexico and able to seek work in a new, up-and-coming field. If I do obtain my certification, I’ll have much pondering and planning to do re: the next stage of my life. And the transition will be an intense one.

For now, though, I’m behind in a lot of things on my to-do list on the business front. Including blog-writing and all kinds of other writing.

Anyone else playing catch-up? A blogger I follow (we’re related somehow, somewhere, sometime along the family tree, I believe) seems to be having a like week month: http://elaineorr.blogspot.com/2018/02/have-you-ever-had-one-of-thosemonths.html.

How’s your week/month/New Year coming along? Productive and enjoyable, I hope!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black CATastrophy Writing Prompt: Puppy Love

 Gone

 

                                                              Puppy Love

They found the bike propped up against the wall, but Allison was gone.
“Dammit, I knew I should have never got her that bike.”
“Dad, it’s not the city anymore. She’ll be okay.”
“I know, it’s just…”
“Yeah, I miss Mom, too.”
Samuel gave his son a side hug. “I love you, Marius.”
“C’mon, Dad. Let’s find her before she stumbles across a backwoods meth lab.”
“Ha, ha.” He watched his son load the bike into the back of the SUV. Hard to believe he’s already a senior.
“We’ll hit all the stores on Main Street before they close. Then head over to the dog park, then—”
“Then we’ll swing by the trailer, then the community pool, then out to the farmhouses on the outskirts. Can I drive?” Marius asked.
“When you get your own car.”
None of the store owners had seen Allison.
“Next stop, the diner,” Samuel said. His son was too busy texting to answer.
“Hey, Rhonda, seen Allison today?” Samuel asked his boss.
“No, hun, not since you all were here for Sunday brunch. She missing again?” Rhonda inched closer. “You just need a good woman to look after you all.”
He could smell peppermint Schnapps on her breath. “We’re doing okay.”
“C’mon, Dad, it’s going to be dark soon.”
“You all just let me know if you need something.” Rhonda patted Marius on the head.
Samuel hustled Marius out the door.
“Seriously, Dad, a head pat? Please tell me you don’t like her.”
“Why not? She’s a good woman.”
“Now I know you’re full of shit.”
“Watch your mouth, son.”
Their laughter stopped when they got to the trailer and saw Allison on the steps.
“Oh, no, she’s got Mrs. Wilson’s dog.” Samuel said.
“Daddy, look. I have puppy friend.” Allison stood, the dog struggling to get free.
“Dad, what’s all over her dress?” Marius said.
“Hopefully just mud.”
“It’s all in her hair, too.”
“Sweetie, that puppy is Mrs. Wilson’s.”
“No, daddy. Is mine.” Allison held the dog even tighter.
“Allison, we’re going to get hamburgers at Charley’s. Mrs. Wilson is going to watch the puppy while we eat. Okay?”
Allison smiled crookedly. “Okay, Daddy. Then we go get puppy, if I’m good?”
“I promise.” Samuel gently took the dog from her. “Now, go with Marius. He’s going to get you all cleaned up.”
Samuel carried the dog over to Mrs. Wilson’s trailer and knocked. The tin door squeaked open.
“That girl of yours stole my dog again?” Mrs. Wilson flicked her cigarette into a bush.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m very sorry. Allison doesn’t understand when she does something wrong. And she just loves dogs.” Samuel said, as the dog ran inside.
“So you keep sayin’. Next time, I’m gonna call the police.” Mrs. Wilson slammed the door.

********

Later that evening, Samuel made sure the childproof locks were set on the front door. At least she couldn’t wander outside at night.
“But what if there’s a fire,” his wife said to him, in his head.
“I tried my best, Janine,” he whispered, as he poured himself some Scotch. After a couple of sips, he took the glass to the desk in his room. He pulled out a glossy pamphlet from the drawer. “I’m so sorry, Allison.” Salty tears mixed in with the whiskey taste in his mouth.
The next morning, Samuel dropped his son off at school.
“Allison not coming to school today?” Marius asked.
“Nope, we’re taking the day off. After yesterday, I’d better keep an eye on her. Figured we’d go get pancakes. Can you get a ride home after band practice?”
“Sure, Jessica’s mom can drop me off.”
“Pancakes?” Allison said from the back seat. “Chocolate chip?”
“You betcha. All the chocolate chips you want.”
After Allison had her fill of pancakes, Samuel drove her to the state psychiatric hospital that Allison’s doctor had recommended.
“Daddy, where are we?”
Samuel unloaded her suitcase. “Sweetie, you’re going to go on a vacation.”
“Are there puppies inside?” Allison asked.
“Let’s go see, shall we?” He held her hand tightly while he led her up to the white building.

********

He got home well ahead of Marius. There was a dog sitting on the front steps of the trailer porch. At least it’s not Mrs. Wilson’s dog.
“Shoo,” he said, and the dog took off. The trailer was so quiet. He turned on the TV and then took a new bottle of Scotch and a glass from the cabinet. The house was still too quiet. He turned up the TV volume. Some old action movie.
He poured one drink, then another. Then a third. His hands hadn’t stopped shaking, but at least he wasn’t crying anymore. Have to be strong for Marius.
Five o’clock, and the winter darkness started to close in. Someone started yelling in the movie. Then a cacophony of barking dogs erupted from the television. I don’t remember dogs in the movie. How much Scotch did I drink? He shook the bottle. Almost empty.
He squinted at the TV, but the picture was blurry. He turned it off. The yelling stopped but the barking persisted. No, it was more like howling, now. He fumbled with the childproof locks and opened the door. Animals streaked from the small porch into the shadows.
“What the—” He took the flashlight from the shelf by the door and shone it into the darkness. Dogs. Hundreds of dogs. Some even looked like wolves. And they had stopped howling. Instead, they were growling. Growling and snapping as they sprinted forward. Samuel stumbled backwards and fell, dropping the flashlight.
“I’m so sorry, Allison,” he cried as the dogs closed in.

*********

“Hi, Marius.” Allison hugged her brother. “Are we going to go get pancakes?”
“Yes, Allison, pancakes with chocolate chips.”
“Then home?”
“Yes, home. But only after we get you a puppy from the shelter.”
“Puppy.” Allison clapped her hands. “I love puppies.” Her smile was no longer crooked.

 

–Willow Croft

Writing Prompt Link: https://blackcatastrophy.com/2017/12/03/black-catastrophy-writing-prompt-16-gone/.

 

The Year Begins, Again.

I hope everyone is happy, warm, and safe in their little time pocket of the multiverse!

If you signed up for the newsletter, I look forward to reading and sharing your New Year’s creative thoughts (if any). I’ve scheduled this post in advance, just in case I was able to make it to another realm for New Year’s. Thanks to those who participated.

Congrats to the winner, The Green Stars Project, who wrote a great post about liminal space that’s very fitting for this time of year. Become part of the Green Stars initiative!

The Green Stars Project New Year’s resolution: “My not-so-secret wish is to practice ethical consumerism and to also encourage others to do so. I have a specific plan, and I’ll know that it’s starting to work whenever I see another person writing a Green Stars review! My latest post, which starts with a brief discussion on liminal space, pretty much sums it up. https://greenstarsproject.org/2017/12/29/resolution/Sometimes, perhaps when I’m faltering on my path a little bit, the universe sends me a sign – it usually comes from an animal. That’s kind of where it all started – with my cat and other animals. Baggins the cat is no longer on this plane (or maybe he is back on it in another form) but I think he still guides me.”

 

New Year’s Poem by Willow Croft:

Mechanic

“I think time is broken,”

you tell me, in my sleep.

It’s my 365th attempt to fix things

but our clocks are lives and years apart.

With each tinkering,

more pieces of me 

pile up in the corners,

and I’m running out of places to hide

from monsters under the bed and

in real life.

So I seek my way out of these worlds.

At the harbour, I’ve missed the boat.

At the airport, I’ve missed the last plane out.

At the station, I’ve missed the train.

And my carriage never arrives 

at its destination.

Always a day late and a dollar short

and a hundred years away from you

in the dark and cold

of another new beginning.

© Willow Croft 2017-2018

 

“One Hundred Years” by The Cure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBtBD2WwvGY

 

 

 

 

Quantum Singularity Contest!

My lovely holiday newsletter is ready to send out!

Even better, I decided to create a wishes-come-true contest to go with it (A signed copy of my poetry book to eleven lucky winners!). Details will be in my email newsletter, so sign up by using the link to the right on the widgets sidebar  (MailChimp), or go here.

Good luck in the contest!

Happy holidays, and have a lovely winter season to all my follower friends!

Ghost Stories?

 

So, as if I don’t have enough to do, I’ve been hit by the inspiration muse for my next book of poetry. At least for the overarching theme of it (like how galaxies/alternate dimensions/astrophysics/time travel was for the last book). I was thinking maybe the paranormal/unexplained/ghosts, but have the poems revolve around lost people/opportunities, especially since I have been pretty chimerical throughout my life, and a lot got jettisoned and left behind in the wake.

“I liked you the way you were. I liked your walls. I liked being the one to bring them down.” Hook, Once Upon a Time

Here’s a sample one:

The Secret Life of a Chimera

I admit,

you were one of the ones

I had little regret about

and didn’t count you

among my secrets-to-the-grave.

There was zero nostalgia there

except maybe that time

we went to another dimension

with the help of…synthpop, was it?

Whatever it was, it was a beautiful step

out of time, on that Vermont road

clean and pure and transcendental as ice

that, luckily, wasn’t also on the road.

That’s how I remember you.

I will never admit that I think about

the play you wrote that saw the

me no-one else did.

But last night, out of nowhere,

out of years bygone,

I dreamed of you,

pineapple bright,

with a unicorn heart

full of rainbow love, just for me.

And I let you hold me, prickly pineapples

and prickly me and all.

I don’t know what was more confusing

that I let you in, or that I let you go.

And I wished another impossible wish

(they’re the only kind I’m allowed)

that you were the one to break down my walls.

 

–Willow Croft

 

Black CATastrophy Writing Prompt #2

A crippling feeling gripped him in the very pit of his stomach. He knew he would never see Beckham again.

“Relax,” Tamara said. “It’s only kindergarten, he’ll be fine. Wait till we have to send him off to college.” His wife took his hand. “C’mon, I’m due in court in an hour. Sure you’ll be okay? I can have Dad come over and take you to lunch.”

“Ha, ha. Don’t worry, I have clothes to wash and floors to sweep. Oh, and don’t forget to get milk on your way home.”

“I won’t—see you at six. Love you,” Tamara let go of his hand.

“Love you.” Tim watched his son dump a pile of blocks on the carpet. He’ll be fine, he told himself as he left the classroom.

At home, he wandered from room to room. He’d lied to Tamara. The laundry was done, the floors were swept, and he’d even finished the dusting while Beckham had watched his Sunday morning cartoons. Why didn’t I play with him more yesterday, instead of having the TV babysit him?

He turned on the TV and looked for a tennis match. There was none. And the TV noise annoyed him more than the sound of his wife’s business-on-weekends phone conferences.

Milk, he decided. He went to take his car keys off the hook by the door, only to realize he was still jingling them in his hand. The noise echoed in the quiet house as he left.

He got milk last, going up each aisle and gathering everything to make Beckham’s favourite meal, spaghetti and meatballs. Tomatoes, grated cheese, pasta, ground beef, spices and herbs thrown on top of a cartful of things he didn’t need. And red wine to toast his wife’s court victory after Beckham was in bed.

On the way home, he switched “Wheels on the Bus” for a top 100 mix of artists he pretended to recognize. Beckham’s fine, and he got on the freeway instead of the back way that would take him past the school.  He merged and then typed a text to his wife: Got the milk.

…………….

Tamara knew she would win—she always did—but she was still energized as she left the courtroom.

“Congratulations, Ms. Sanders. You’ve helped yet another criminal avoid prison time.” The prosecuting attorney shook her hand a little too firmly.

Tamara hid the wince with a smile. “Thank you,” she said, resisting the urge to comment on his lunchtime happy hour. Or, more likely, his liquid breakfast.

She practically skipped to her SUV, unused to getting out of court so early. She took her phone off silent mode. She scrolled through her text messages, all business. I’m not going back to the office, she decided.  But it was the missed call from Beckman’s school that caught her attention. She began dialing the school, but another call came in. Business, she sighed, and took the call.

“Mrs. Sanders?”

“Who is this?”

“Mrs. Sanders, my name is Officer Hudson of the Boston Police Department…”

“What happened to my son?”

“Ma’am, your son was not in the vehicle your husband was driving when the accident occurred.”

He’s fine, my son is fine, she thought.

“My husband has been in an accident?”

“I’m very sorry, ma’am.”

He’s not fine.

The phone shattered against the pavement.

black-catastrophy-writing-prompt-2

https://blackcatastrophy.com/2017/08/13/black-catastrophy-writing-prompt-02/