Posts Tagged ‘Online Writing’

Girl in the Wind –

01/18/2012

Girl in the Wind

Chapter 1

Cassie ran as fast as her long, skinny legs would carry her. The screen door banged shut behind her. A sound guaranteed to piss off her mother  but she didn’t care. She had to get away from her. She had to escape the cutting words that sliced into her as sharply as any knife, carving away at her heart until the only way she could stop the bleeding was to run to the big oak tree across the yard and climb high into its enveloping branches. Past the long abandoned robin’s nest.  Past the broken limb that snapped off in the thunder storm last year.  Higher and higher she went until the branches thinned and she doubted the next one would hold even her slight weight.

She inhaled deeply, saying her personal version of a prayer, “Please God, don’t let me blow away in the wind before I show her a thing or two!” and stretched her arms as high as she could, wrapped them around the tree trunk, and stepped out on a limb so thin it seemed barely strong enough to hold the trio of leaves dangling from its tip.

She raised her gaze to the sky and felt the sun on her face  calming her.  White clouds of summer drifted overhead in a sky so blue it made her want to cry. A gust of wind rocked her as the tree swayed. Cassie welcomed the feeling of vertigo that came with the thrill of fear that she might fall. That was why she was there after all. To face the fear.  To prove she was more than what her mother claimed. Although she would never admit it, she was terrified of heights. Even more terrified her mother was right. She was clumsy. She was school smart and life stupid.  She would never be very pretty. Not like her mother. Not like her sister.  How many times did she have to listen to the same story? She got the message the first time she heard it.

They lived in the apartment house then. The one with two families and one bathroom on each floor. More than once she’d peed her pants waiting for someone to finally clear out of there.  It was bad enough if they were just whizzing or pooping, but if someone was taking a bath it could take a very long time and it wasn’t fair to get spanked or have your nose rubbed in wet pants if you tried and couldn’t get in.

That’s the place where they all got sick and the doctor had to come and give everyone but her father a shot of penicillin every day for a week.  Cassie, who was four at the time, and her big sister, Sue, six-years old,were with Mom in the big bed. Their little brother, Billy, was in his crib pushed up against the wall. All of them were sweaty and coughing. No one was getting any sleep and Daddy had to bring them soup and pass out pills and change Billy’s diapers.  Every day the doctor would ask Cassie and Sue who they wanted to get a shot first. Neither little girl would answer. Cassie always wanted to tell him to give the shot to their mother first. She was the only one who didn’t cry and maybe, just once, he’d get confused and forget about her.  But she never got up the nerve to say anything. Some days she was first, some days Sue or Mom. Billy was always last everyone always got the shot

Finally they were all better. Her father was at work and her mother was brushing Sue’s hair, getting her ready for school. Sue thought she was big because she was going to first grade and Cassie was still too little for Kindergarten.  Every now and then, as her mother talked and brushed her hair, Sue would turn to Cassie and give her a look that seemed to be a mix of superiority and embarrassed pity.

“You have the most beautiful hair,” Mom said. She brushed the long, naturally curly, locks at least five-hundred strokes every morning.  “Strawberry blonde is such an unusual color. When you grow up you will be beautiful and have lots of boyfriends. You will go on lots of dates and break a lot of hearts.”

“What about me? What color is mine?”  Cassie asked. She had hair too, but Mom rarely brushed it. After all, she wasn’t going anywhere but outside to play and she always came in a mess so why bother.

“You? Your hair is dirty blonde. Some people call it dishwater blonde because it reminds of them of the dingy water they pour down the sink after doing the supper dishes. It’s not unusual at all. And your hair is super fine. It won’t hold a curl like Sue’s. You’ll have to spend hours curling it or get a permanent. You won’t be pretty like Sue but, if you spend a lot of time doing your hair and putting on the right makeup, you could turn out to be cute. ”

“Will I have lots of dates?” Cassie asked.

“Not a lot,” her mother answered, turning to scan her younger daughter from head to foot. “Some of the boys that Sue isn’t interested in or has dated for a while and then jilted will probably ask you out. Maybe one of them will really like you.”

“I hope not”, Cassie said. “I don’t want to go on dates anyway!”

But she did. Not then of course, but someday she would want someone to think she was pretty and take her for a ride in his car. Somebody who wouldn’t care about the color of her hair. She secretly wondered if boys cared as much about hair as her mother seemed to. The ones she knew certainly didn’t do anything with theirs.

“Oh look, the sun is coming out,” Cassie’s mother said. She stopped primping Sue’s hair and crossed the kitchen to open the curtains over the sink.  All morning it had been raining hard with occasional crashes of thunder and bursts of lightning.  “It reminds me of the day Sue was born.”

“Tell us,” Sue said.

“April is a wonderful month to have a baby. Everything is so fresh and pretty in the Spring. However, it stormed all day and all night when I went to the hospital to have you. When I was in the delivery room the lights flickered out a few times and I was getting scared. Even the doctor said he hoped you would get here before the electricity failed for good.”

“Did I?” Did I come before the lights went out?”

“Yes, you did,” her mother assured her. “And just as the nurse was bringing you to me, the storm ended and the sun came out, filling the hospital room with light. It turned out to be a perfect Spring day after all. I had never known what it felt like to be so happy.”

“Tell me about when I was born,” Cassie said. “I’ll be you were very happy that day too.”

“No, I wasn’t,” her mother answered abruptly. “You weren’t due for another three weeks and your Dad and I had planned to go out. Aunt Celia was coming to stay the night and watch Sue.  It was the last time your father and I would have a chance to go have dinner in a restaurant and go dancing before you were born. “

“What happened?” Cassie asked. A chill ran up her spine as she waited for the answer. She knew that something had gone wrong and it was her fault.

“What happened is you!” her mother snapped.  Instead of having a night out I was in pain in the hospital. No, I wasn’t happy. I was mad. My last night out was spoiled. ”

“I’m sorry,” Cassie whispered, tears glistening in her big blue eyes.

If her mother heard, she didn’t respond. She simply finished brushing Sue’s hair, helped her put on her prettiest dress, and with Cassie following a few feet behind, walked her daughter to school.  Later that afternoon, when her mother shooed her out of the house so she could have some peace and quiet, Cassie pushed a rickety ladder up against a tree, climbed up on one of the branches and faced the sting of her mother’s rejection for first time.

Why did feel so much like falling?

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Girl in the Wind – Prologue

01/12/2012

Girl in the Wind

By

Bobbi Carducci

Prologue

Her story begins not with her first breath, nor will it end with her last.

Just as the blood of her ancestors flows through her veins and their strengths and weaknesses had much to say about how she looks and where her structural weaknesses lie, her story has etched itself onto her children and grandchildren.  Some will benefit from the trials of the past. Others will have to fight through their history to build a better life.

When asked why she decided to tell her story, she replied, “Because I must.  The voices of my lifetime speak to me in my dreams and wake with me each morning. I would be as lost without them now as I was when the events I occurred. Perhaps some will find strength in my weakness, joy in the aftermath of my tears, and love where I meant it to flow, even when it seemed I didn’t care. If not, I will move on with no regrets for every misstep I have taken has created a story that was, if not well lived, I dare hope you’ll agree, was well told. “

###

Come back  next week for the start of chapter one.

It’s Been Longer Than A Week

07/07/2011

My intentions were good. I planned on being very good about dates and deadlines and all those things.  I’m pleased to say that writing got in the way. Not the actual putting words on paper or clicking keys on keyboard kind of writing, but the very productive the voices of my characters are talking to me, sort of writing.

I can see the page where I left off and my fingers are itching to get started again. One would think I would be doing that instead of this but that’s not how it works for me. There’s an intangible sense of knowing that comes over me when the time is right. Once that happens I know the words will flow and the story will take shape. Until then I keep my hand in by submitting short stories written months ago or trying out a new market. I teach writing workshops and do readings, all of which I’ve done since the last time I posted here.

At times like this writing is work. However, when the words and ideas are truly flowing writing is like soaring. I know I have to be aware of my surroundings so I don’t crash but the free flow of ideas is such a delight the experience becomes effortless.

Is it like that for you? Do you soar and come to rest in intervals as I do? If not, what does it feel like when the story begins to unfold?

***

I am pleased to say that the work of writing is showing some results as well.  Two of my short stories are scheduled for publication in the online magazine Eerie Digest www.eeriedigest.com Sweet Revenge will appear in the September issue and The Marriage Contract will appear in the October issue.  I like these quirky pieces. Each shows a darker side to this author first published in anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort and who is now the author of a book for young readers, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, www.storeewryter.com

Do you have multiple writing personalities as I do or is your writing entirely focused on one genre?  I look forward to reading your answers. Until next time, write away!

If You Want to Write

05/03/2011

1. READ  – Novels, Biographies, Books about Sports, signs along the road, read cereal boxes, read plays, read poems. Read  horror and sci fi and romance and mystery. Read blogs and text messages, read on line, use an e-reader or a ratty old book you found under your bed.

2. Learn and use the Rules of Grammar, Punctuation and Form

3. LISTEN- Listen to family stories, listen to music, listen to the news, listen to gossip (don’t repeat it – use it in a story or book or play), listen to little kids and old people. Listen to bird song and crickets. Listen to traffic sounds and hear the life in it. Listen to your dreams and your doubts and make stories out of what you hear.

4. READ – read comic books and graphic novels, read history books and the classics.

5. Write – Write about what you know and what you don’t know. Write about life and death and fish and bubble gum. Write about anything that comes into your head. Some of it will be great – a lot of it will not be great. It doesn’t matter as long as it gets your imagination going. This is how you entice your brain to cut loose with all the imagination stored in there. Let it out and use what you can, store the rest in a file on your computer. You might want it someday.

6. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. They don’t know what you can do. Only you can decide that. As long as you have ideas you can create stories. But you do have to learn the craft as well as the art. SEE RULE 2 AS OFTEN AS NEEDED.

7. READ – read blogs and text messages. Read on line, use a Kindle, fish that ratty old paperback out from under your bed and read it again.

8. Talk to other writers. Join a writers group if there is one near you. If there isn’t start one. 9. Submit  your work to a contest or for publication –FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES – ALL OF THEM.

10. Never give up. There is a place for you in the writing world.

Anthologies Seeking Submissions

04/29/2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul says:

“We have many Chicken Soup for the Soul® books in development and are adding new titles all of the time. We are always looking for new stories and poems and hope you have some for us to consider. Take a look at the list of our future book topics to see if you have a story or poem on a subject we are looking for and then please submit it to us.

If you have a great story or poem you want to submit but we are not collecting for that topic at this time, please save it and check back with us soon. Our list of Possible Books Topics is added to frequently and hopefully, in the near future, we will add a topic that will be a perfect fit for your story or poem.

We prefer that you submit your stories only once, but if you believe your story fits in more than one book topic, please indicate which other topics you have submitted it for in the Comments line on the submission form. You can submit your story by going to the link at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

Here Are Our Future Topics:

***SELECT YOUR TITLE***

Brides and Weddings
You are engaged! How lucky you are to have found that one person you want to share the rest of your life with. We are looking for stories about this very special experience in your life. From the proposal, to the planning, to actual wedding day events — both touching and hilarious – these stories will capture your heart and your emotions. Stories from the groom or the proud parents would be great too! Please share the memories that were created during this special time in your life. The deadline date for story submissions is April 30, 2011.

Christmas Stories
We are collecting stories for our newest Christmas book. Everyone has special memories and stories to tell about the Christmas season – from inspirational and joyous, to heartwarming and humorous. We want to hear about your special Christmas memories and traditions. Please note: if you have submitted stories to our Christmas books in the past, we have your stories in our database. Please make sure that the stories you are submitting to this book are NEW stories that our editors have not read before. The deadline date for story submissions is June 30, 2011.

Family Caregiver
Do you have a family member who requires constant care? Well, you are not alone. The stories in this book will be written by people caring for a family member who requires their assistance due to a variety of reasons – old age, Alzheimer’s, chronic illness, long-term or permanent physical or mental disabilities. Are you part of the “sandwich” generation – caring for an elderly relative while also raising your children? Or are you the person receiving the care from a family member? We want to hear from you too. These stories will inspire and support family members who are making sacrifices to make sure their loved ones are well cared for, whether in their own homes or elsewhere. The deadline date for story submissions is July 15, 2011.

Find Your Happiness
How have you found happiness in your life? Share your stories about how you found purpose, passion, and joy in your life. Stories can be serious or funny, but definitely inspirational. Attitude adjustments, gratitude, a new way of handling your daily life, major realizations, and other great ideas to inspire readers to find their own paths to happiness would be appropriate. The deadline date for story submissions is May 15, 2011.

Food and Love
There is such a universal connection between food and love – both the romantic kind of love and the comforting kind of love between family members and friends. There is that delectable feeling that certain aromas and tastes stir up in your memory and imagination. We are looking for savory, sweet, sometimes spicy, mouthwatering, succulent, and tasty stories on how food and love together played a flavorful part in your life. You get the idea! These stories will whet your appetite and leave you with a divine aftertaste and a pungent yearning to read more. The deadline date for story submissions is May 15, 2011.

Home Sweet Home
Whether you rent your home or own your home, home is where your heart is. It is your safe place in the world. We are looking for stories about getting your first home, returning to your childhood home, do it yourself repair disasters and successes, downsizing, moving day or any heartwarming or funny stories associated with home. This book will make the perfect housewarming gift. The deadline date for story submissions is August 30, 2011.

Marriage and Married Life
Whether you are newly married or have been married for years and years, the stories in this book will capture your imagination, inspire you, make you laugh and touch your heart. We are looking for stories that will celebrate the commitment two people make when they say their vows. Tell us about your relationship. What makes it work? How did the comfort of your mate guide you through challenging times? What is the most important thing in your relationship? How did you try to change your mate? Did it work?! The deadline date for story submissions is May 30, 2011.

Think Positive for Kids
Where do your children find the inner strength to stay positive in these challenging times? The world today is fast-paced and filled with choices, temptations and challenges. The values that children, ages 7 to 12, learn today will stay with them for the rest of their lives. We are looking for stories that show children how to make good choices… even when no one is looking, respect the needs and feelings of others and focus on hope. The stories will remind kids that each day holds something to be grateful for and show them that they are not alone in dealing with difficult issues. We hope that adults will take the time to read these stories with their children as together you share special times and expand communication. The deadline date for story submissions is December 31, 2011.”

Submit Your Story

Your Life as Poetry with Timons Esaias at Pennwriters Conference

04/07/2011

Your Life as Poetry with Timons Esaias

The subject of this workshop is poetry, but the purpose is to get more magic into any line that you write in any form of writing. We’ll look in our own lives for the sparks of poems, add some tinder, and then try to fan the flames.

When: Saturday, May 14, 2011 10:30 -11:30 AM
Where: Pittsburgh Ariport Marriott, Pittsburgh PA

Timons Esaias is a satirist, poet and short fiction writer whose work has appeared in 14 languages. His poetry chapbook The Influence of Pigeons on Architecture is in its second edition. He was a finalist for the British Science Fiction Award and won the Asimov’s Readers Award. He is adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University. http://www.timonsesaias.com/

Late for the Jam

03/21/2011

It’s a good thing I decided to check my e-mail when I did. I was temporarily stumped by a block of squares in the crossword puzzle I was working on (the one in the Sunday Washington Post Magazine is my favorite) and decided to see if any new submissions had come in for the Young Voices Foundation Emerging Writers contest.

That’s when I saw the reminder on the screen. Community Literary Jam starts in five minutes. Fortunately, the location is just about five minutes from my house. If I left immediately I could make it on time.

Immediately didn’t happen. Even after deciding there was no time to print a sign in sheet and grabbing some blank paper just in case some new people showed up, I still had to come up with something to share and run upstairs to get my shoes and grab my Pennwriters cap to hide my uncombed hair. Then I had to pee, of course.

How much time do I have? Still two minutes left it I discovered after grabbing my watch from my dresser and running down the stairs. 1:00 PM blinked accusingly from the dashboard as I backed the car out of the drive and headed toward the Round Hill Arts Center. The speed limit through Round Hill is 25 m.p.h. and I was definitely late now.

I pictured a line in front of the building. A bunch of new writers waiting to share their poems, short stories or novel beginnings. When I arrived five minutes late the parking lot was almost full, but, there was no line waiting for me. Disappointment mingled with relief. Maybe I could get the doors open before anyone knew how close I came to forgetting this twice monthly event. Still, it would have been nice if some people were waiting.

It turns out – there were. Two writers were doing a bit of window shopping in the art gallery next door while waiting for me. Both poets, they read their work and I promised to send them information on poetry contests and calls for submission. We spent two hours discussing writing, rejection, and life in general. I learned that one of the other writers had nearly forgotten the Literary Jam too. Her mother reminded her a bit sooner than my automated calendar notified me so she made it on time. But, the important thing was we were there in the moment and even though the group was small the sharing was meaningful. I look forward to next time and hope you’ll join us.

Round Hill Arts Center  Sunday April 3rd. 1-3PM    Jason (Jay) Blevins Author of The Last Fall will be there.

Poetry on a Rainy Day

02/22/2011

Rainy Days and Sundays

Rain and Daddy go together

Splashing in puddles on a summer’s day,

dashing from car to church to receive communion.

The day he left and stayed away far too long,

the grey days of yearning, wondering why he chose to go.

And years later,

did the clouds gather as we drove to the airport to greet him?

I don’t recall.

But today, as he lies dying, the rain continues to fall.

****

A Penny For Your Thoughts

They call me Penny,

say I haven’t much sense and

banish me to this dark space

while they run on their senseless rat race.

They call me Penny,

say I haven’t much sense,

yet when the till opens

they look for my face.

Insulted, I remain hidden in my comfy dark place.

Note: I have no illusions that I am a poet. These two are a result of writing exercises I participated in yesterday at Write-a-Palooza held at Shamrock Music Shoppe, in Purcellville, VA, taught by Betsy Allen, David Sackrider, both excellent writers and teachers, and Mike Carducci, drummer for the band, Local Flavor.  This particular class focused on poetry and songwriting and since I am neither a poet or a songwriter I did what I could to learn from them.   What you have just read is the result.