My beer, a chocolate colored ale with banana bread notes, was perfectly chilled.  The bright midday sun streamed through what amounted to a large glass-paneled garage door   warming my back and lulling me almost into a dreamy haze.  My wife sat across from me at the tall cocktail table whose top was littered with syrupy glass rings surrounding a stack of obviously unused paperboard coasters, sipping her frosty Kolsch.  Hillman Beer, one of so very many brew pubs in and around Asheville proved to be the perfect spot to break this spell that's been haunting me for so long now.  Our conversation began as a couple took a table across from us, their half German Shepherd/half gray wolf nudging us at the end of her leash for attention.  London was her name, the man told us, and she ate up the attention of strangers.        "We'll stay where we are for the time being as long as you're happy with your job," my wife said.        "Are you sure you'll be okay co

What I'm Reading Now & Whatever

Nothing.   The leaves are turning, the air temperature is dipping and the acorns are dive bombing the car.  The cat's got a lame leg, I've washed all the windows & vac'd all the screens, and my wife's homemade apple pie is to die for.  I can look up the mountain from our home and imagine the bears that'll soon be prohibiting me from continuing my trailblazing.  The wild turkeys remind me of myself as an awkward teen  (not sure I understand this one). I'm surrounded by writing prompts.  They're unavoidable even if I intentionally try.  Point is, I know they're there and free to use, just not for me.  Not right now. What I'm reading doesn't matter.  Oh sure, I've polished off two time-sucks of psychological fiction  since my last "What I'm Reading Now" post, but haven't felt like posting about them. Long story short, the time I'd typically spend writing things and practicing has been kidnapped by work related stresses,

Honesty vs. Positivity

I wrote an op-ed for a small newspaper recently, a blunt assessment of an ongoing local issue that affects everyone and has the potential to cause harm to innocent people and animals.  Not expecting anything to change, my intention was simply to get my thoughts off my chest.  My first submission, which included a few words like "moron", "cretin" and "idiot" (what can I say- it was my opinion, and I was fuming), may have been a little rough around the edges, but the editor helped me pare it down and clean it up so it could be published.  I was fine with that, but he'd also said something that hasn't been sitting well with me since then.  After reading my first draft he'd emailed me that he was the editor of a "positive" paper, and only accepted such pieces for publication.  Opinions are, well, personal opinions.  I understand some of my word choices may have been a little crass and I was fine with making those changes, but this whole &

Two Screwdrivers (Adult Content)

One for the head, one for the heart. One through an eye, the other between your ribs. I hated your threats, your raised fists and the bruises covering my body.  Night after night you came, smelling of booze.  I ached.  I bled.  I was too scared to see a doctor, ashamed of my shredded innocense.  I hated you for making me your whore. Coming home late you knocked me around and insulted me, then forced yourself into me.  I was scared and you were strong.  You assaulted me, then left me hurting and nauseated from the stench of blood, sweat and your rotten seed. When finished you rose, muttering "You should be ashamed of yourself.  You're filthy and bloody." Tonight was my breaking point.  You lay there in my bed, drunk and snoring. The color drains from your face, and the screwdrivers protruding that way make me laugh nervously. "You should be ashamed of yourself, daddy.  You're filthy and bloody." I don't love you.  I won't miss you. Another of my micro

Confounding People

  "How are we supposed to eat?"  She was serious, and aftwerwards I felt bad for laughing.  I'd arrived to look at their microwave, which apparently had stopped working.  I determined that there wasn't much I could do and would have to replace it.  "I can't believe this," she said, obviously seriously annoyed.  Husband came back into the kitchen and said "For what we pay you'd think the fucking appliances would work when you need them.  Now what do we do?" "Are these people serious?" my internal voice said.  "You see those pots and pans and utensils in that cupboard?  And how about that big white metal thing with knobs & buttons and four round things on top that get real hot?"  Again, the internal voice only.  I needed my glamorous maintenance technician job. Another apartment, another family: "But how will we wash the dishes?"  She was as straight-faced as the woman in the previous story.  All manner of di


  Pocketing the key, I press the front door closed as my eyes adjust to the shadows.  The flashlight on my cell barely illuminates the living room in the childhood home I shared with my twin.  My hand tingles with numbness, the heft of the marble collection we shared as children a sharp contrast to the fabric of the pillow case wrapped around my fist.  Memories long repressed gnaw at the nape of my neck as I pause to focus on a framed photograph of the four of us in happier times.  Shuddering, I force myself to continue to their bedroom at the end of the hall.  Though I have no solid evidence, I'm certain mother and father are responsible for what happened to Bobby.  "Accident-prone, my ass," I whisper to myself.  My life effectively over since the day I lost my brother- my only sibling and best friend- and not wanting to live for anything life had to offer, I vowed revenge.  So strong it was, fogging my every decision, dictating the direction I took in life, work and rel

What I'm Reading Now

  I just finished reading "The Photographer", Mary Dixie Carter's disturbing debut novel about a talented New York City photographer who, let's say, inserts herself into the lives and families of her clients in unsettling ways.  This was another one that was hard to put down once I dug into it, and I was intrigued with the way the protagonist was able to manipulate not only her photos, but her clients as well.  Another fantastically disquieting read.