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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

Marbles

  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

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  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.

(Cruisin' on the) Beer B(l)oat

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  My wonderful, loving, caring much younger wife has helped me over the years convert my beerlove from an almost-12-pack-a-night cheap lite shit habit to a more refined occasional local-microbrew-or-two per week one, and my health's all the better for it.  Honestly.  I'm healthier and feel better in my fifties than I did in my twenties and thirties thanks to her.   Between the above-mentioned habit shift and an almost 80 lb. weight loss over a few years I quite literally owe her my life.  Stepping on our scale is a morning routine, and this morning I found myself feeling bloated while undressing for my shower.  Yesterday we picked up a sixer of one of many awesome local Octoberfests (wifey's a fiend) now that they're coming out, and we each sipped a couple while Netflixing and enjoying an intensely heavy thunderstorm.   So this morning I stripped naked and, after observing my paunch in the mirror reluctantly stepped on the old honesty meter.  Disappointed? Sure, but I k

In the Meantime

  A little advice, please-  I've written dozens of flash- and short fiction tales, and most are not what one would consider mainstream and are a little offbeat for most "normal" literary journals.  I've spent way too much time searching for literary journals that accept darker pieces, but after perusing submission guideline after submission guideline I just can't seem to find a suitable home for my brief tales.  If anyone has any insights into who might be willing to look at darker fiction I'd appreciate the suggestion.