Scars of Lost Innocence

– By Adam Wilby * This is an excerpt from a short story I’m sort of working on, the ultimate object being it’ll be one of several to make it’s way into a book. Ashley ran excitedly down the stairs and down the hallway. As she rounded a corner she nearly collided with her Aunt Jane who was coming the other way, her arms laden with a basket of laundry. “Slow down Ashley, anyone would think the devil was chasing you,” said Jane with a smile. Ashley ignored her, instead waving a photo she had found up in the attic in her aunt’s face. “Is this you auntie?” Jane looked at the photo and her smile faded, dog-eared and partially faded yellow with age it portrayed two girls stood side-by-side on the edge of a cornfield. “I assume you have been up in the attic again?” said Jane rhetorically, her voice almost toneless now. “Did I do something wrong?” asked Ashley. “Not at all, it’s just that I haven’t seen that photo in such a long time”. Ashley pointed at the girl on the left, “That’s me right there”. “Who is the other girl?” Jane paused and looked away for a moment before returning her attention to the photo. “Well once upon a time she was the Princess...

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...

The Mentor

The Mentor -By Adam Wilby Below us the group of people left the building right on time and began to walk up the street, their usual route would eventually bring them directly past us. From beside me I heard the voice of my mentor, “Do as I do, act when I act”. Always the same words for as long as I could remember. On the day we had first met he’d introduced himself as Patroclus, addressing me only as Diomedes from that point on. Of all the kills I’d made with Patroclus at my side I remembered one the most vividly, the first of which had been my initiation. I had been sixteen at the time, in a crowded pub on a Saturday night nobody have given me a second glance when I cleared the empty glasses from the table, a simple sleight of hand trick being sufficient to poison one of the pints of beer on the table moments before it was seized and gulped back. He had brown shoulder length hair and a broad northern accent as I recalled, ironically the conversation topic had been something along the lines of future plans. I found out later that he’d been the boyfriend of some rich heiress and didn’t have the intelligence to keep his trousers zipped up without bragging about it. Naturally enough word had quickly got back to her. He’d probably heard the phrase “beware a woman scorned” a dozen times before without thinking it would be instrumental in his death. Even before the poison had started to take effect we were long gone like shadows in the night. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the trigger finger of Patroclus tighten as made the first shot as he done many times before, a half-second later I copied the action and seemingly as one the...

Camden Town

Camden Town – by Lori Moritz I found myself On the streets Of Camden Town Watching 40 different women I was with them Every one In Gothic coal-lined eyes In unfamiliar platform shoes Offering up a transcendent perspective While tripping up their ankles On raised crumbles Of ancient sidewalk blocks They wear short skirts Of cheap denim Sewn with a half-stitch Because youth Cares not for quality That goes with style Which calls them back To Camden Town Every time A boyfriend or two Tears the skirt from you Camden has something new Only 3 pounds Sterling If you know the system Of bartering And you do it To satisfy the yearning For something more Than 3 shillings of love He asks you back To Camden town Maybe get That purple corset Hanging in the window The one with black lace Camden’s not a trashy place Just a vile stink that settles Neath ultra-glitter Sticky perfume And sparkley eye goo To make his prick Pick you apart When your heart No longer sits In Camden town Buildings built to last Through centuries of lust Await their fate As display cases Servicing familiar faces That will still Come Here Walking When I’ll no longer be around...

The Queen of Cups

Hey guys! This is MY very first showcase on my VERY own website! I hope you like it: The Queen of Cups – by Lori Moritz First Session – I see what I know. What do you see? The pretty voice wants to soothe me. Make me like her. I don’t like her. I don’t like anything. The pretty voice is supposed to help me. I forget what the owner of the voice looks like. A generic woman. Immemorial. Isn’t that amazing? I can give her one thing, though… she has a pretty voice. All you need in this field, I suppose. When my daughter begged me to come, I resisted. I can’t be hypnotized. I don’t trust anyone. I don’t even like my daughter, how could I like this girl – this hypno-therapist. I came because my daughter thinks something on the inside is plugging up the ducts of my love flow. The offensive plug is lodged so far down the pipe, I need guidance to get it unstuck. I spat into the sink. To hear of it! There never was a love duct. Love is missing in me. It always was. So no therapy could magically bring it back. I came here to prove that to her. I thought – so wound up in a mental vice grip of negativity – that I would see only blackness. But wouldn’t you know it. Something comes to mind. Look around and tell me what you see… Fine! “A kitchen.” It isn’t my kitchen, though. Instead of walnut, “The cabinets are white. The counter-tops are tiled in indigo blues.” It’s much bigger than mine. “With an island.” I always wanted an island. “And everything is clean. Pristine.” My kitchen has old wine stains on the counter. Sticky goo on the stove. No island, and absolutely no blue. But something is...

The MUSE Project

In keeping with their namesake, I am using the band MUSE as my muse to write a chapbook of stories. I have already completed one story. My idea is to write stories inspired by some of their songs. MUSE happens to be my favorite band. They have managed to combine enough grit with classical elements to get my creativity going. They also remind me a little bit of QUEEN, my favorite band of yore… If you haven’t already, please check them out. They rock, and I feel they are under-appreciated in the US. If you register on their website, you can play all their songs and see all their videos for free....

Weekly Challenge! May 21-28

Alright, ready for another challenge? Write your response to the following with at max 600 words. Read the prompt and write the first thing that comes to mind, or think about it for a few days and submit a more polished piece. Winners announced and featured on my website Friday May 28! Make sure to vote on others’ works so a winner can be chosen! Here’s the Prompt: Write about the Witching Hour -subnote- I am waiting for enough responses to actually post a winner. So perhaps I should call this the ‘monthly’ contest! The famous designer, Hans Moritz (same guy who designed Cyclops’ eyepiece in the movie X-Men), will illustrate the winner’s entry… so PLEASE WRITE AN ENTRY, READ, AND VOTE!...

May 20th Winner!

Congratulations PhilosopherKingES, for such a well-written poem on last week’s prompt, “The day has just begun…” The day has just begun, reminding me of all the other days that began, then ended, meager sandwiches of bread on bread. No meat between the daily routine of tearing oneself from dozy dreams and returning to bed, somnolent again. Naught but sand, in fact. Humanity persists in a directionless line, voyaging, voyaging toward… The generations cycle idly like annual flowers. I travel on a plane in one direction on a line segment of indeterminable length, yet I too live in cycles. In one, eating, another, driving, a third, wanting The fourth consists of turbulent seas. Upon these I sail irrationally, master of my intent and nothing more. Here consciousness monsters cease their torments as I anchor in the shallows off mind’s luminescent shore. Realm where existence is a distant memory, and cares are but paranoid shadows, the polarized sweets and sours of life rain down in confused, fantastic showers. In this blended up hash of horror and delight— but the light cycle’s turning, the end’s come to night. The day’s just beginning, and streaming through my window the bright morning extends its daily invitation to...

Using Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration – A writing exercise that’s worth it!

Alright. Sure. Maybe it sounds strange… of course it does. But Tarot DOES have its uses outside of predicting the future and personal insight. If you find yourself stuck, with no inspiration, in the dreaded state of Writer’s Block, get yourself a tarot deck. Here’s the exercise: If you want, you can light some candles and dim the lights. (LOL) No really. You can. Then… Shuffle the deck. Pick a card. If you are a tarot expert already you can skip the next step. Read the tarot book or look up the meaning of the card on the internet. (You can find the meaning of the cards for free on many websites, but most decks come with explanations.) Apply the aspect of this card to any aspect of your writing you are having troubles with… Character… plot… story idea… you name it… This is rich. Let me illustrate the process with my own experience: I did this tonight (YES TONIGHT!). No candles, but the light was dim. I shuffled my perfectly ordered deck (which my friend Jennifer informed me was a no-no in regards to Tarot. I was embarrassed about it and blamed it on my German blood. No really. I ordered my cards because I was worried I was missing a few. And because I am a little obsessive compulsive, but I digress…) I pulled the Queen of Cups. It turns out that the Queen of Cups is a mother figure. A nurturer. A great wife, a great mother, someone in balance with feminine home structure…. it goes on, and gets deeper, but this is not a Tarot lesson. I sat back and thought about it. An idea formed. What if there was a mother who loved so much, and was so nurturing and full of love, that she smothered all those she cared for. I mean literally...

Online Writing Courses (that are worth it!)

Hey folks! I’m a home school teacher and after school tutor by profession… so good courses mean a lot to me. I’ve been scrounging around the internet for three years trying to find good online courses and forums. So far, I would say only two programs were worth it. Here’s my 2¢: UCLA Extension Writers’ Program There’s not enough good I can say about these courses. UCLA offers live courses on their campus that generally meet once a week. I’ve never been to one of these. But what I love most about UCLA is their extensive online catalog of courses. They cover all genres of writing, including TV and movie scripts. They have accomplished authors on their team of instructors. The online format consists of Blackboard, a user friendly course and bulletin board system. They also have a very friendly team of counselors that will promptly reply to any questions or concerns you may have. Trust me, I’ve emailed them… A LOT. They offer a Certificate Program in Writing, which I have signed up for, and have almost completed. It will help me in my application for a Masters degree in Fine Arts when I apply in 2011. Sign up early! Enrollment is limited to about 14 or 15 students. I will leave it up to you to check out the catalog for a list of courses they offer (not only in writing, BTW!). For now, I’ll give a little summary of the courses I’m currently taking and have taken in the past. Past Courses Creative Writing: Short Story (Online) (Fall 2007) This course can be taken for UCLA college credit (a nice plus!). This class introduced me to one of my favorite books on writing fiction: Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Each week, we read a chapter of the book, a story that illustrated...

Blood Rain

Blood Rain – by Adam Wilby I hated the rain. I hadn’t always felt this way. I vividly remember the day that I did. It was August 23rd 2008 when everything changed. I looked into the face of the man I had just punched. Blood was dripping from his nose, for his own part he was staring with an expression of disbelief at the claret puddle in the palm of his hand. The people stood closest to us had fallen silent, out of the corner of my eye I could see most of them were biting their lips; the odd few of course were clearly amused at what they saw at some impromptu entertainment. “Do I look like some cheap tart to you?” I asked the man rhetorically. If I hadn’t been so angry I might have been incredulous that he appeared so surprised. I had been sat at a table near the bar with one eye on the door while I waited for Stella to arrive. That evening the two of us had planned to meet here for a couple of drinks before moving on to a nightclub just down the road. Consequently I had gone out that morning and bought myself the red dress I had seen earlier that week when using the shopping centre as a shortcut to work. He’d walked over and asked if I wanted to dance. If Stella hadn’t once again kept me waiting I would probably have declined his offer with a smile and the false promise to catch him later. As it was I had grown bored of sitting by myself. In any case I didn’t see the harm, as the pub was less than a mile from my flat, while I wasn’t exactly one of the regulars, I was confident that if anything untoward happened someone who knew me would...

The Punch and Judy Show

THE PUNCH AND JUDY SHOW – by Adam Wilby Judy heard the keys rattle in the lock as Punch let himself into the flat they had shared together for the past two and a half years. She had never liked the flat much, situated as it was directly above the record shop where Punch worked during the day, it was also located near the two main nightclubs in the town centre. Judy had lost count of the number of times she had been woken up during the night by people who apparently couldn’t handle their drink as they staggered, shouted and swore loudly on the way home. It was small wonder that when Judy climbed out of bed at eight every morning she had bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. Even so she was never so tired as not to know that Punch would return to the flat almost precisely at noon every day for his hour long lunch break, in keeping with their established routine Judy always made sure there was a salad on the dining table waiting for him. Punch had made his feelings clear on this as he took his diet and fitness very seriously, just one of the examples being the five mile run he took every day after work meant he didn’t have an inch of fat on him. This being, if Judy was to be honest with herself, one of the reasons why she had felt an attraction to him so soon after a mutual friend had introduced them. As the shop closed at 6pm it meant that Punch would, almost as regular as clockwork, return home perhaps an hour afterward. While he was out Judy generally kept herself busy as there was usually something to occupy her attention. Indeed over the course of just over two years of living in...

The Stand

I am reading The Stand by Stephen King (Who, by the sheer number of his books I’ve read and enjoyed, I’ve decided is my favorite author). I started this novel in August of 2009. I hope to finish by August 2010. LOL. Well, the beginning rocked, but the exodus is trying for me. That’s when the momentum stopped. I would have been happy with just a horror novel about the superflu. Given that one piece of criticism, I’m still hanging in...

Italio Calvino

I am currently reading If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italio Calvino. When I read the first pages, I didn’t like it. Then I read it again, altered my perspective a bit, and VOILA! It’s like what he was trying to do dawned on me. Anyone else have thoughts on...

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