Writing Challenge

Time for a new challenge… it’s been awhile. Parameters: Write a short response to the prompt. Read and respond to other responses. Vote for your favorites by clicking the thumbs up. (Note, it will only let you vote once per user or per IP address) After enough responses and votes come in, a winner will be chosen. Prizes: At this time, the winning entry will receive a custom illustration for their story, and a featured post on my website. (For you to bedazzle everyone with!) Prompt: . It is said that a ghost roams this shanty farm. Who (Or What) is it? How long has it been there? Why does it lurk here? What does it see? Tell us its...

Book Review – Under the Dome by Stephen King

. . How I can finish this book, Under the Dome (1074 pages), before I can finish The Stand (1141 pages), when I started the Stand one year ago, and Under the Dome three weeks ago is beyond me, but it’s true. Under the Dome reads like a season of 24. The book opens with a series of tragedies that initially befall the residents of the small Maine town of Chester’s Mill, and lopes along, downing one domino of tragedy after the other, until… Whammo! What happens? Well, you’ll have to read the book for that. King populates this novel with many characters. So many, in fact, as a budding writer, I find it intimidating. I think the more I study writing, the more intimidated I get when I look at the minefield of cliche I must traverse in order to get to the inside of ONE character, much less twenty of them. King may not flush all the cliche from his population, but does he have to? In a town like Chester’s Mill? It’s believable that people would live by them. I wasn’t distracted by Big Jim’s H3, nor by Barbie’s military kick-ass a la Reese from the Terminator. The characters are fun. They fit the bill. They are reachable and understandable to everyone, and no one has to tread through a mound of rich metaphor to get the point. Sometimes that’s just what I need to read, and I am so happy King is there to provide. The Plot involves a fun thought experiment. (I personally LOVE thought experiments like this) What would happen if … a large indestructible dome suddenly enclosed an entire town, completely separating it from the rest of the world in every way (except, for some odd reason, sound and radio-waves pass through it with no problem, and air and water can trickle...

Eavesdropping and BananaFish….

. J.D. Salinger, God rest his soul, wrote more than just the incredible coming to age novel, The Catcher in the Rye. He wrote many short stories, and many related to a central group of characters. I’m taking a UCLA Extension class called Putting Dialogue to Work. The first assignment requires that we read the Salinger story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” Although the story is in the American Realism genre, I LOVED it. I think it is because my grandfather was a WWII veteran, and from him, I came closer to understanding what a veteran might feel while trying to reinstitute himself into society. Here was my assessment of the story: * Muriel comes across as shallow and indifferent. She hadn’t been able to get her call through for 2.5 hours, but when the phone finally rings, she doesn’t bother to rush for it. Her call seems habitual rather than motivated by any sort of conscious desire or need to communicate. She paints her nails while she talks. I inferred that she probably spent more attention on that than the actual conversation. She takes her rings off, probably including her wedding ring, to hang around the hotel room. Despite her mother’s concern, Muriel behaves like any teenage girl. I can envision her rolling her eyes to look at her brain as her mother voices her concerns. Muriel is so far removed from reality that she feel invincible. She has, “It can’t happen to me syndrome.” I was taken by the following dialogue between Muriel and her mother: “When I think of how you waited for that boy all through the war-I mean when you think of all those crazy little wives who–” “Mother,” said the girl, “we’d better hang up. Seymour may come in any minute.” The fact that Muriel cuts her mother off in mid thought here...

Moonlight Flirtations

-By Adam Wilby . . LOCATION – The Starlight speed dating agency; PAUL has just sat down across the table from MARTHA. MARTHA:        Evening. PAUL:               Evening, my name’s Paul, what’s yours? MARTHA:        Pleased to meet you Paul. PAUL:               So what makes a girl like you want to speed date? MARTHA:        Honestly? A desire for companionship I suppose, how about you? PAUL:               True love, what else? MARTHA smiles. MARTHA:        Are you always this optimistic? PAUL:               Best way to be I think. MARTHA:        Yet you are single, not the way you like things I assume? PAUL:               I split up with the girlfriend two months ago. MARTHA:        I’m sorry to hear that. PAUL:               Don’t be, it was a case of opposites attract, that is until we both woke up one morning and realised we had nothing in common. MARTHA:        I assume then that living on your own was not to your liking? PAUL:               Something like that. <PAUSE> How about you, any men in your life? MARTHA:        Not recently, I’ve been off seeing the world for the last couple of years; romance hasn’t been terribly high on the agenda. PAUL:               Good for you, who were you travelling with? MARTHA:        I was by myself. PAUL:               Really? Brave girl. MARTHA:        I’ve always liked my independence. PAUL:               Where was the last place you visited? MARTHA:        Thailand, I was out there for a month last February.  I spent a few days in Bangkok before making my way over to Phuket. One of the best times to go if you haven’t already, weather is warm without being uncomfortable and you get to experience the Chinese New Year. PAUL:               You make it sound very attractive. Do you by any chance work in the tourism industry? MARTHA:        (Laughs) Actually I’m a taxi driver, ever need a lift home on the graveyard shift and I’m the girl to call. PAUL:               A...

Latest Challenge Winner – Tantra Bensko

Tantra Bensko wins! . Write about the Witching Hour -by Tantra Bensko . . Midnight came and went many times today. I have never experienced this before. I knew no one was looking when I started turning my head around like an owl to see all the midnights lining up around me. One started speaking to me. Come. Come this way. Another started speaking. Come this way! It was like when my husband and I would spin our son around on a swivel chair and then both call him to run to us in different directions, and watch him fall over. Midnight was playing. And so it was time. Time for something. A little test of what different possibilities could be like in different repeating times. I gave myself a kiss. On the arm. I petted my ankle. I caressed my face. All in different midnights. I was trying to learn to remember what it was like to feel adored, touched because of being beautiful. My only option was myself. If I did something nice for my skin in many midnights at once, would there come a point at which all of them would hit me simultaneously? I liked the linearity of the repetition, but am a big fan of the non linear. And being touched sweetly all at once in many places by myself was sounding really fun. I ran my hand through my hair. I pulled my toes. I felt along the line of my hip, with my hand cupped, feeling the tautness of the shape. I traced the edges of my lips. I felt so loved, and had been so lonely for long, longing for touch, I was ecstatic when suddenly, all the midnights I had just participated in collapsed in on themselves from the weight, and I became like a Picasso painting. All directions at...

Zombie Dreams (with a Werewolf Cameo)

. Zombies are ruining my sleep…. . For the past few weeks, I can’t seem to escape a night without  having multiple dreams populated with horrific zombies in pursuit of my flesh. Last night, the dreams were extra memorable: I found myself in my childhood house. I stood outside at the very edge of the driveway and saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see three zombies by the swing set, taking note of my presence and coming for me. These zombies had some interesting features (zombie 3.0 Beta version, I think). They sported the usual rotten bodies… half face/half skull, shreds of flesh dangling with shreds of muddied clothing. They generally lumbered along, but they had ‘burst of speed.’ . Burst of speed! . Can you imagine a zombie creeping up on you from behind with burst of speed? It happened to me in the stairwell. (God knows why I decided to escape the zombie by going upstairs into a confined room. Maybe I was attempting to get up on the roof and throw the zombie off… I’m not necessarily the most intelligent person in my dreams, evidently.) I ascended the stairs, and a zombie came upon me with burst of speed. I had to kick it off. Thank god it didn’t bite me. Now get this, I grab a PENCIL to protect myself (thinking I could puncture its skull, har har). At this point the zombie starts singing. SINGING? Yes. Not the typical nasty moan you might expect. No, this was a siren’s call. It sounded so alluringly beautiful… haunting and pleasant… I had to turn around. I gaze upon this putrified thing at the bottom of the steps with brimming eyes. It sang at me again (Sang at me, ha!). I felt sorry for it. The sound made me long to...

On Remembering a Past Death

. Why Our God is a Vengeful God . – by Lori Moritz . Layer One – The First Fragments . The imminence of death gave me superpowers. They found me guilty. I was guilty. So was she. Had they found me innocent, I would be innocent. And so would she. This choice held interesting consequences. Then I died. . Layer Two – Love . After pronouncing my sentence, I could taste her emotion infiltrating the air of the judgment chamber. Her guilt altered the resonant frequency of the molecules that bounced off her skin. They transferred her message to me, collision by collision, a carrier-wave tuned to my soul. It whispered her inaudible scream of sorrow and fear. But no one caught her. The stupid fools have yet to learn how to read matter by influence. It’s so obvious, I guess it can’t be seen. So, she was innocent and I was guilty, and that’s the way it would forever be. I loved her. That didn’t stop me from hating her for letting me face death alone. For not admitting the crime, and thus willingly joining me in death. Let’s be more precise. I did hate her. For seconds only, but the emotion existed enough to make an indelible mark, a fine etch in the crystalline-perfect nature of our resonant souls. I feel it now when her thoughts land on me from light years away. They are the cold obligatory caress from a disinterested lover’s hand. I lost her. Then I died. . Layer Three – The Betrayal . “Guilty!” the judge spat out, and with it, a thousand unsaid crimes of her own. This decision, this label of guilt, drew me inside the boundary of all things dangerous. Danger seized my consciousness, and I became what was known as evil in their eyes. I disagreed with this....