Monthly Archives: January 2014

Once more, I am going to hunker down!

Here, in Chiberia, we had a reprieve from the weather, and we did — for a fleeting moment. Then, during that moment, I dreamt of temperatures hovering around freezing, sunshine, and tempting myself with thoughts of a balmy 40. I didn’t think I was unrealistic — it is winter. Now, reality has set in — the forecast is prepping us for another round of snow and ice with the most on Saturday (all day Saturday) with a possible total of a foot of snow by Tuesday. It has started, but not enough to mention.Then, after we have more of the winter white piled on our driveway, we return to the frigid air. Me — I am preparing to hunker down. Again! Gas is in my car, food is bought, made a list of projects to work on, and, hopefully, I will get out on Sunday. But, there is no doubt, I will be hunkering down.

Strange word, isn’t it? — hunker — the connotation is even stranger. We live in a world where we are to be active, get the muscles moving, stay strong, and yet, when we anticipate we need protection, we hunker down. Literally, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it means to “squat, with the haunches, knees, and ankles acutely bent, so as to bring the hams near the heels, and throw the whole weight upon the fore part of the feet.” (That’s a pretty detailed description of “squat”). 

Personally, I am not going to squat. I am going to simply stay inside for as long as necessary — do a few calisthenics, read a book, write a page or two. And not a minute longer. I am tired of hunkering down; I am getting cabin fever — that claustrophobic feeling when I am in one place too long. If this continues I will be ready to cast my cares to the wind, become the captain of my own vessel. I visualize myself as Kate Winslet, the young Rose, standing at the tip of life, the tip of the Titanic before its impending doom (Maybe I should rethink that scene considering the outcome!)  If I were younger, I would consider sowing my oats, but that is for the young before they settle down. Right now, though, I am hunkering down, readying for the next storm to pass. 

I have a feeling this spring will be more active than most. That is, if we ever get to spring.

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Writing the short story

It has been longer than I wanted since I have written my blog. I have thought about posts, jotted notes on sayings and what I have observed in my surroundings, my blog has been on my mind. So why haven’t I sat down, opened my laptop, and posted those small words or cliches that I have heard and stored in the niches of my mind. What have I been doing? Writing, traveling, teaching, tutoring — and researching my story — don’t forget the research, traveling to the libraries and special publications of those libraries  whose keepers have opened the doors to give me the information I needed to make my latest story reliable, filled with facts of times gone by — in other word, I have been doing what I do best. What I love to do. With that in mind, I thought I would write today about the short story that I have been working on — give you the first couple of paragraphs of a short story turned novelette (a story over 7500 words). There is another story (my final story for this collection) that will also be of this length, but the rest of the stories are short so you can read them during a break from routine. Enjoy this beginning. And let me know your thoughts. Do you want more? If so, I will give you excerpts.

 

John Doe #32

The old man, shrunken and withered with age, shuffled down the timeworn maroon carpeted hall, caressing his fingertips, mumbling, “It’s all Tom Sawyers fault, you know. Damn Tom Sawyer. It’s all your fault, Tom Sawyer. You know that, don’t you?” Over and over, hour after waking hour, day after day, the old man continued his ritual, continued his litany cursing Tom Sawyer.

     No one was mindful of his body. Simply, he was a worn ornament dressing the halls of the nursing home — a state-paid bed for the displaced residents of the nearby shuttered mental institution, a bed and a body among the people who needed more care than what family members could provide. He was John Doe #32 — nameless, faceless, and lost to society and mankind like those who were lost in Alzheimer’s; only, they had names and faces, and they would have reveled in their memories, shared their life with anyone who would listen. No one stopped John Doe, no one asked him a question; rather, everyone allowed him to roam the halls, mouthing his litany, reinforcing the nameless, faceless, invisible man. They never brushed against him, touched his skin or clothes, made a direct contact with his body; instead, they walked around and by him, talking, laughing, singing their songs of life.

     It was then that mother worked at the nursing home as Activity Director. Her job was to provide games and enjoyment for those who made those walls their home…

 

Well, how do you like the opening?

Gotta go — get back to what I do best….

 

 

 

 

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