War Games – Second Dose

Last time was just for fun,
Bows and arrows shooting at a stationary bull’s eye.
When it was done,
The soldiers rested.
After twenty eight days of preparation,
Recording in the annals of cells,
The battle plan,
Lined up,
The real war games begin.
This is where the warriors come to life,
And thrive.
The faux enemy behaves like the real thing,
And to fail has consequences.
The fort left open, vulnerable, even while receiving the award,
the designation, “Certified Vaccinated”.
This body is a walking battleground,
In a greater army that hopes,
One by one,
to provide no place,
for the real enemy to call home.

My experience with the second dose of the Moderna Covid -19 vaccine was about 18 hours of sore arm, sore throat, pounding headache, stiff neck and a low grade fever that made me want to hide under a rock. I didn’t enjoy the day after one bit. It felt like my body was half in flu stage and half in healthy stage…in some kind of limbo that would have drove me mad for longer than one day. Once it was over, it was over, like it didn’t happen except for my arm is slightly sore if I touch it. I’m sharing this for anyone who has not had the vaccine and is curious or if you’re about to get the second dose, plan on a not so good day after.

Just for Kicks – Up Time / Down Time

I have three sisters. We spent a good part of our childhood in competition with each other as that was encouraged by our parents; not on purpose but the side effect of fickle favoritism and random penalizing. Even so, we often got on harmonious “kicks”which were spurts of obsession with one activity or another and had great fun together. Here’s some of the ‘kicks’ we had:
• Puzzles – kitchen table overtaken by 1000 piece jigsaws.
• Playing “I doubt it” and/or Spoons and/or any card game Nana taught us.
• Paint by number kits– we were all artists for weeks
• Peanut butter no bake cookies – they cropped up each time one of us reached sixth grade and had cooking class.
• Funnel cakes and cinnamon crusted muffins – another cooking class food obsession
• Freeze pops
• Marionette puppets (kits to make them)
• Making rock candy – mysterious cups of colored sugar water with strings hanging in them.
• Giant chocolate bars – thanks to mom who bought them on sale, one for each of us. We became addicted to chocolate and begged her for more promising to do all kinds of extra chores if she would keep them flowing.
• Reading novels. No one moved from their preferred reading chair for days. Any money that was to be had went to buying books. I read a lot of my sisters hand me downs which is how I read books maybe not appropriate for my age. I’ll never forget reading “Alive” about a plane crash in the Andes.
There were the Barbie days, the Fisher -Price Little People days, the ‘make your own’ paper dolls days, the knitting and crocheting and embroidery days. Those were the days!

The things is, we submerged ourselves in these things, and were consumed by them and even more so as a group. But when the ‘kick’ passed, it was gone. We may have a collection of sticky paint by number scenes of mountains down the hall and a velvet tiger half finished under a bed but that was it. Things change. Rainy days end. Summer ends. Life happens and we were in different places. But that didn’t make the enjoyment and the benefits disappear.
I still love to paint, embroider, definitely read, and I’ll never forget those cinnamon crusted muffins my sister cranked out every morning.
I’m sharing this to say don’t be discouraged if you have intense times of creativity and writing and it seems like you are destined for the stars by sheer zeal. But then, there’s a shift in your life, in your mind and there you are like a normal person with not a creative thought in your head. Writing seems tedious and you wonder where you were going in the next chapter that was left half finished.
It’s all good. The battery is charging in those down times. Something is building that will burst out when the time is right. Learn to channel the creative bursts into goals and relax in the low key rests.
Just go with it. Happy writing and waiting to write!

Uncertain Certainty- A Poem

We want it all to be crystal clear;
Nothing murky,
Nothing left for doubt to spread its fingers in the cracks.
We want to be understood in our deepest self,
and to understand.
For the shadows and the wondering,
to cease.
But all around,
Our sight fails,
Our love fails,
Our steps slip.
Where is the hand to lift,
the heart to give what we want but
can’t give ourselves?
Where is the path that is straight,
without stones,
Or pits of darkness,
Or the dusty, dryness, of thirsty emptiness?
Oh to be human with such
great need upon our backs,
as we traverse every day,
time pushing us out on stage,
trumpeting ‘live and let live’;
side by side all of us,
wanting heaven on earth,
to find peace, happiness, joy.
but that is not promised.
In the rose garden of beauty,
wafting sweet fragrance,
there are the thorns,
there are the weeds,
there are flowerless plants offering nothing.
Let your expectations,
not be on the map of the journey,
but on the destination;
simultaneously ahead,
and here and now.

Stolen – StormWeaver- 8

I snatch the brown pebble from the ground,
my heart racing.
I don’t know why.
Coincidences happen all the time. Right?
“It’s that little stone you have isn’t it?”
The woman’s face is lit by the sun breaking through clouds.
“Put it back down again.”
“No,” I say. I slip it into the pouch with the rest.
“I’m sorry for your loss.” I head away from her.
“I didn’t lose him,” she calls sharply. “He was taken.”
She grabs my arm. “It’s different when they are stolen.”
I’m about to speak, when a young woman calls out,
“Mama leave him alone.”

Binge read episodes 1 – 7 The continuing fantasy story told in 100 word increments. Choose “StormWeaver” in categories.

Fiction Writer- Character Prompt 1

Driving home from work I noticed a grey jacket sprawled on the median. My first thought was, how did it get there and does the person who owns it know it’s missing? I imagined for a moment what the person was like and multiple people came to life. Imagine video footage like that of all the people who come up to an ATM machine. There’s the work guy who threw it on the back of the truck and didn’t notice it hung off the end of a ladder just waiting for a gust of wind to catch it like a kite. There’s the upset teenage girl who closed the car door not seeing that it fell from her back pack. The woman who packed a gym bag for after work, put it up on the top of the car and forgot about it. Along with the jacket I can expect to see, shorts, running shoes, a towel. But these are random people, maybe one of whom actually lost that jacket or maybe the story is still more mysterious.

That got me thinking. If it were my main character what article of clothing would she leave on the top of her car roof and how would she react to find it was gone? That’s easy. Maisey would have left her North Face packable white puffer coat that has pink piping along the zipper and collar. Would she be upset that it blew away? No. She wants to shed all things from her old life, the life she had before she met Tyler, before she was embroiled in working with both criminals and the FBI.

What about your main character? Give it some thought. What would the article of clothing look like? How would it have ended up on the roadside? How would your character react to realizing it was gone?

Please share the answer to those questions! I’d really like to hear. It’s good fun and great for fleshing out your character in your mind which will come out in your writing whether you tell the tale of the missing item or not.


Exit Wound – A Poem of Sorrow

Something died.
I felt its life snuffed out just now.
It tore away living flesh with its exit.
I feel the searing pain,
the warm trickle of blood,
from a new wound.
If I screamed into space,
for how horrible it felt,
it would echo through all the galaxies,
and chill the heat of the sun.
A wave of bitterness, comes back to me,
with the outflow of life passing on.
I put my sand bags of faith against it,
and wonder if they will hold.

Note: This is an old poem that I stumbled on and thought it might speak to someone. If it’s you, I’m sorry for this painful time you’re in. Difficult days come. Good days come. Difficult days sometimes come anew. But even this pain is part of your tapestry, your whole self, your story, a story of life. May the good days, outweigh the difficult.

Clare Graith

5 Things I Saw Today (April 15)

  1. Boxers air drying on my deck. Way to go for doing your part in reducing energy waste, Honey.
  2. The cat pretending to be a panther lurking in the bushes. Meanwhile every bird in a one mile radius is screeching warning cries. Does she know and still carries on with her stealth act? Wish I could pretend as much as the cat.
  3. The stack of coffee cups, snack plate, cereal bowl, random silverware next to my desk which tells me I’ve spent 90% of my day sitting in a three by four foot space. I call it my work cockpit. Someone save me from this electronic tomb! Backing away from the cliff. Tomorrow is another day and one day I will quit.
  4. My reflection in the mirror. I have silvery grey hair growing from my temples and I’m not coloring over it. I’ve earned this precious metal and I don’t want anyone to think I’m a young-in. Why would I? I had my time to be fresh, youthful and terribly ignorant. It was great. I wish I enjoyed it more but I’m totally okay with the years I’ve been granted and the wear on my mortal body that has ensued. It makes no sense to resist the transitions in life. Each stage holds a treasure to be enjoyed and I’m hunting it down every day.
  5. Strawberry plants loaded with blossoms in a plant that doubled in size since last year. I see that kind of fruitfulness and it makes me happy. That is tempered by two things. There is frost predicted tonight and I’m not sure those joyous blossoms will make it through. Secondly, I saw a rare squirrel in our yard (is that number 6 on the list?)which I know could race through my whole strawberry patch and gobble up the goods before I can say “strawberry shortcake”. Here’s hoping blossoms survive freeze and furry invaders.

That’s it folks! Just a foray into random stuff. Maybe one of these reflections will inspire you to write! Till then have a good one and keep your eyes open and share a “5 Things” list.

Cooking / Writing 101 – don’t burn your chances

Some recipes are complicated like eggplant rolitini. There’s the eggplant to prepare, the sauce, the ricotta filling. I’m thinking of the entree from Luigi’s where I used to live. I haven’t made it myself but maybe I should since I miss the Italian food from the northeast so much. There’s nothing like it. I did make a recipe the other day. It wasn’t very complicated : Chorizo in a simple sauce of fire roasted tomatoes, red, yellow and green peppers, a heavy dose of fresh garlic, basil and oregano.
The kitchen smelled amazing. I plated it with linguini and topped it with some Asiago cheese shavings. If there were a good bakery in a thirty mile radius, Italian bread would have been on the side. (Is there a complaint in there?) We had such anticipation of enjoying the savory hot spice of the chorizo with the fresh light sauce. It was going to be a feel good dinner. But that’s not how it went. I put that plate down and my husband took a taste so fast that he burned his tongue terribly. He couldn’t enjoy the rest of the meal. It was so disappointing.
While I prepared the meal, I was thinking of how good it would be. The aroma took over the kitchen. My husband smiled every time he walked past the simmering pot. He kept asking, “What did you put in it?” (Does he not trust me? I haven’t secretly fried up tofu crumble to pass as beef taco for a long time.) I told no secrets but said it was all good but the whole point of the effort was so that the meal would be enjoyed. (Fortunately he was able to, as left overs the next day.)

It kind of reminds me of sending out first pages or a query letter and a moment after or worse yet a day later, reading through it, and finding an error. It never fails! All the work, the build up, the careful typing, reading, re-reading, and still there’s one mistake, one faux pas and it’s ruined.
Well not exactly, there’s always tomorrow. Fix the problem, present the dish again, I mean, the writing and get on with it. Don’t give up! This post is for me, the one who sent out one round of pathetic query letters and has been revising for several months now.

Write on (and cook on, while you’re at it. Writer’s need to eat too!)

To Each Their Own

There is a strength not born from adversity,

or by gender,

or by any other means,

except endowment.

It stands and keeps standing,

Without a second thought,

Of how near others are.

The strength is housed,

In many forms,

Not always the book smart,

the eloquent,

the fine featured, or

the able-bodied.

But comes in a frail, spindly package,

as often as a burly, stout one.

This strength is the wind in the sails of others,

And if the hand on the helm is true,

The rudder is sure to chart a course,

For the weaker to head in the right direction.

There is a weakness, not born from coddling,

Or by gender,

Or by any other means,

Except endowment.

It trails and keeps trailing,

with no other thought,

then to stay near the strength.

The weakness is housed,

in many forms.

Not always the feeble-minded,

the soft spoken,

the careful,

the uncoordinated,

but comes in a muscle-bound confident package,

as often as a shaking, unsteady one.

This weakness is a blanket on the shoulders of the strong,

covering and weighing them down, so that they don’t

rise above their humanity and are lost.

The strong and the weak.

to each their own place.