Monday, August 29, 2011

About Lovability in Mexico (Ex-Pat Part II)

Today's our last night in Mexico.  We've spent ten days here, traveling around the center of the country to visit my family and go to a friend's wedding.  We've eaten like crazy, basked in the sunshine of the amabilidad of the Mexican people.

Amabilidad is probably a concept I should explain, for those of you who don't speak Spanish.  Literally, it means "lovability", that is, the characteristic that makes someone lovable.  However, in Spanish (and especially in Mexico) it's not used that way.  To be amable is not to be lovable; it's to be kind + friendly + polite + attentiveness.  Yep, all three four rolled into one.  (Apologies.  I'm mathematically challenged.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I vacation, you vacation...

So we're off to Mexico on vacation tomorrow.  This is our first vacation since we bought the house last year...  My poor b/f hasn't been off the island in almost two years.  If you've ever lived on an island you know how crazy that will make you.  I traveled a bit last year; true, it was for work and not really a vacation, but still.  I got off the Rock.  I kept my sanity.  But my b/f?  He's a hero for not having lapsed into nervous tics or worse.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bluebell Books Short Story Slam -- Week 8

The Bluebell Books Short Story Slam!  Visit the home post here, and join in the fun!

This week the prompt was a photograph...  Darkish, perhaps, or perhaps that's just me projecting my darkish mind.  I was surprised how easy this story came, especially because I almost passed on participating this week -- I had no clue what to write.  Stream of consciousness may not be a bad thing after all ;)  I hope you enjoy!

Turning Back

The road back is the longest of them all.  It’s not a line; not even a circle.  It’s a meandering footpath, rocky and uphill most of the way, only downhill, mostly, when the slippery slope leads further away.  You don’t realize it, at first, when you begin slipping.  Perhaps you’re glad it’s not uphill, perhaps you feel you’re close.  But then you slide faster, you scrape your hands on muddy rocks, and you realize the darkness enveloping is — yes, it’s familiar, but it’s what you’re trying to get away from.  Your fingernails dig for purchase, dirt painfully gathering under them, but there’s no purchase, no stopping.  You just slide.

Why did you walk away?  Why did you need more, more than the sun, the clear sky?  More than the planes of fields that enclosed our world in their openness?  Why did you not feel the freedom of the wind, of the rippling prairie grass?  Did you look back, as you walked away?  I didn’t see you turn, but perhaps you did.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Milestone

I finished the novel.  I FINISHED the novel.  I finished the NOVEL.  I... I did.  Cannot believe it.  Of course, it's not finished-finished...  It's not polished.  It's not edited.  It's not "tightened"...  But I reached the end, I managed to work through and reach a point where -- yes, this is the end.  Maybe the final version, if there is such a thing, will have a different ending.  That's possible, certainly.  But...  Still.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - The First Sunday of August

I'm back this week again...  This Six Sunday thing can so easily become an addiction :)  This week I'm sharing the very first six sentences of my WIP, a novel that doesn't have a title yet (or a genre, to tell the truth), but is going by "Open Circles, Burning Bridges".  If you like it, I'll share more every week.

He wasn’t supposed to come to Mexico that summer.  Cuernavaca, the three-million-inhabitant city just southwest of Mexico City that was home to me, was not as touristy as San Miguel de Allende or Taxco, but recently it was becoming a popular destination for language students.  He told me later that a friend of his, who’d been planning and saving for this three-week experiment to learn Spanish for months, had broken a leg hiking and had begged him to go in his place to salvage the deposit.  A freak accident, like the untimely flutter of butterfly wings that wreaks havoc in a distant hemisphere, and the life I cherished would crumple like wet clay in unskilled hands.   
“Alex, we’re ready to start.”  Jorge, the principal of the school where I taught, popped his head into the faculty room where I was working on my lesson plans.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to visit the other entries at the Six Sentence Sunday site!  Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bluebell Thursday Short Story Slam -- Week 7

My first participating entry in the Bluebell Thursday Short Story Slam...  Not really sure what the rules are, if there are any (except for the inclusion of four of the words in the Wordle above, of course), so your feedback is much appreciated.  Hope you enjoy this tale at least as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Howler Monkey
“Did you see that?”  Her voice was shrill.  “That monkey threw a coconut at me!”
“He didn’t.  Or she.  Can’t really tell from here,” I squinted up at the jungle canopy.  The light barely filtered through in patterns that made me think of the dappled surface of the summerhouse pond.  
“He did, Chris!  I saw him look at me right before he threw it, like he was taking aim.”
“Monkeys don’t do that, Sheila.  The coconut probably just slipped from his, or her, hands.”  I chanced a glance in her direction.  She was staring at me, arms crossed over her chest.  I was glad, for the first time since she’d bought them at the duty-free minutes before we boarded, she’d found these ridiculously huge sunglasses.  Their lenses shielded me from the sting of her glare, but still I looked away.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Clarity of Night

I just realized I completely forgot to link the Clarity of Night contest to this blog...  I cannot believe I did that.  I was overwhelmed, true; first by the sheer raw talent of the 102 entries -- seriously, these people can write!  And second, by the fact that my own entry received an honorable mention (an HONORABLE mention... MY entry!  Un-freakin-believable), and I was apparently inducted into the Forties club (for high punctuation in the readers' choice voting).  So, yes, I was flabbergasted and in shock for a whole five days, until today I suddenly thought, "wait a minute...".

Please forgive this incredibly careless oversight, and take a jump-click over to Jason's Clarity of Night blog.  If you want to read my very humble and undeserving entry, click here (or find entry #97 in the index of the Elemental contest post), and please check out some of the other entries.  For those ADD'ers out there, know that the word limit on this contest was 250 words.  That's, like... not even a page.  You can read a page, right?  Believe me, these are worth it:

Here are some of my favorites:

No One Would Catch Fire, by D. Biswas
The True Story of How Casey Tillson Became A Vegan, by Wendy Russ
Your Mother, by Francis Tan
The Answer, by Kilian Conor (this one has a line that I love... "I am bone and meat interlaced for breath to speak your name..."  How unearthily beautifl is that!)
Bait, by Richard Levangie (an awesome awesome awesome story!)
The Wall, by Peter Davidson (3rd-place winner!)
Golem, by Loren Eaton (2nd-place winner AND Readers' Choice!)
RIF, by Darby Krenshaw (1st-place winner - wonderful story!)

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
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