Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for July 2009

Drawing Out The Muse

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I find myself in the uncanny position of not only attempting to contact a Muse—but of trying to entice said Muse to my side.  I find myself seeking the Muse, begging for inspiration and freedom from my fears.  I am not all together certain how to go about doing this.  Usually, my Muses come to me.  Usually, they are angry, agitated, roaring, ready to thump my backside in order to get me motivated and moving and to keep me steady on my path.

Not this one.  Not the one I seek this day.  My Muses of Writing are always there for me.  Always steady.  Always threatening to give me another good whack should I fail to show up at the page.  They truly do not ask for much.  I must simply show up—and allow my pen to move across the paper.  Even if only for the allotted time.  Even if I write the purest drivel imaginable.  My job is to show up.  So, that’s what I do.  Most of the time.

Not this Muse.  This Muse is different.  Maybe it’s my attitude towards my art.  I need more assistance here, more subtle persuasion, more gentle pressure and loving grace when it comes time for me to pick up colored pencil and draw something—even something as simple as a blade of grass.  I fret so here—whereas with my writing I just do it.  With this, once upon a time when I was young I threw caution to the wind and never minded how silly my scribbles and scrawls would appear to any other.  I drew for me.  For the pure pleasure of it.  I drew horses.  Wild horses.  Tame horses.  Mythical horses of rainbow colors.  Endless horses, bounding all across my pages, my books.  These horses always had such amazing adventures—while I stayed trapped inside and all alone, drawing and imagining.

I never worried about my writing this way.  I never cared what people thought.  I write for me.  I still do.  Stubborn in my surety about my writing.  Some will always scoff, yet, I’ve always blown them off.  I have an innate knowledge and faith in my talent as a writer—no matter how much room I need to grow in my craft yet.  But as an artist?  One slight insignificant gaze cast wrongly or hesitating word, even a bit of over-enthusiasm, I am all aquiver and pained.  Unsure all over again.  I become unable to decide if I should begin anew, continue as I am or just give up and let it all go.  I set myself up, loving great art and studying it as much as I have, as much as I do.  So many talented people, so many amazingly great gods of art, for me to compare my own meager lines to and show where I lack the most.  I seem doomed from the start in this way.  And yet…

And yet—I know.  I know better here.  I know I have to start somewhere.  So, I know I am able.  I know I am capable.  I know I need to work at it.  I know I need to practice.  Where is my Helper then?  Where is my Guide?  Where is my Muse to assist me with this?  Where is the one who can help me navigate this tide?

How do I draw her out?  Is she even a her?  What if it’s a him?  Will he be crass?  Too demanding?  A sexist pig?  She could be too, just as much as he.  What then?  What if we clash?  What if he makes me feel bad?  What if I turn away. put down my pencils, and turn away to hide, forever more, this side of my inner artist, the one crying now, begging to be let out, set free….Would a Muse really do that?  Would a Muse really do that to me?

Some days, I wonder.  After all my other Muses have done to me.

Muse of Art.  Muse of pencil and pen and dart.  Muse of paint and brush and glue.  Muse of glitter and sparkle and haze.  Muse of vision and clarity and expression.  I beg of you.  Please come to me.  Heed my cries, my pleas.  My vision has gone grey and muted.  I am far too much alone, cowering and afraid of taking even one step by myself.  Lend me your hand.  Lend me your knee.  Whatever it takes to set me free.  Dearest Muse, please, I beseech thee.  Come and inspire me.

prompt from: the House of Muse

written by Tabitha K

Written by Tabitha Low

July 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Morning poem

with 5 comments

Free floating anxiety stresses around

until it finds a mark

-money – now there’s an issue –

there’s never enough of that

and I could always worry some more

about what a bad mother I’ve been.

There’s always fuel for that fire.

I could resurect some memory

of a mortifying moment from my past,

give it a twist,

and cast myself,yet again,

into a position of failure.

The list of potential worries

is endless really.

It’s only limited by my imagination.

Then again –

it’s a late winter morn.

Gnarled old fruit trees reach for the skies

branches bare of leaves.

Sprays of white blossom catch the light

punctuating the twisted black stems.

Birds tweet and warble.

Dew clings to the unmown lawn

– a carpet of sparkles.

The tin roof on a neighbouring cottage

is shadowy. Icy.

A climbing rose reaches  out towards it,

one lone bloom trembling.

Live in the moment, the holy men say.

They have a point.

Written by Suzanne

July 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Pond

with 6 comments

The Pond

Like Ghosts in the water

they come and they go,

to and fro,

in light and in shade.

They’re there for the looking,

but take your finger,

ripple the surface,

watch them scatter and dive

into the murky depths

to hide where it is,

they think, safe.

Never knowing in their tiny brains

there are denizens waiting,

just waiting

to swallow in one gulp,

lunch, dinner, and supper.

Then those that were there

truly are

Ghosts in the water.

Would that we humans

had such tiny brains

that we too,

could live

in the moment

and not concern ourselves

with an uncertain and scary future.

But the thought of that too,

is scary.

Vi Jones

©July 25, 2009

Written by woodnymph

July 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Outsiders Family

with 3 comments

prompt found at



I’ve said it too many times before.  I am an Outsider.  I’ve always been an Outsider,  I’ve always been searching.  I’ve always been too afraid to be the person I really want to be.

What happens when one Outsider takes up with another Outsider?  Do you think we can recognize our own kind?  Whether the other one will openly admit to the Outsider status or not?

I knew the moment I saw him that we were kindred spirits.  Of course, I was fed a lot of felonious information about him before we met as well.  That turned out to be fine in the end.  We got over that.

We were friends.  Real friends.  I trusted him implicitly from the start.  For me, that may be the strangest thing of all.  Me.  Trusting a man.  And not even a thought about using my feminine wiles to entrap or twist things where he was concerned.  I admit, I set him up on a pedestal.  I expected him to keep me safe, without being as base as every other man I had ever known.

I knew all along, talking to him, what he was.  An Outsider, like me.  In conversation one night, he even admitted as much to me.  I don’t know if anyone else had ever heard such a thing from him.  He is such a good man.

Slipping from friend into the role of lover was, not always an easy process for me.  Any kind of relationship is tough on me, with all my baggage.  After trying for so much of my life to fit into molds that weren’t made for me just to please other people…and failing miserably.  Here was a man who knew me, knew all my foibles and misdeeds.  A man who stood by me regardless.  Held my hand and rubbed my back and wiped my tears.

Then we were alone together, much closer than friends can ever be, truly within one another’s space.  Working our way even deeper into one another’s hearts.  Having always been an Outsider, I was afraid.  Afraid the relationship part would destroy the friendship. I am afraid of any relationship.  And here was a man from whom I could not escape, even should I want to.  He knows me so well.  Plus, he is the only man I care about enough to stop fighting things, stop baiting, stop running when he asks.  He says please and I am defenseless.

Despite all the inherent fears that play havoc with me during this time, as we strive to build the foundation of our future together, I have to stop and look around.  Here I am, allowed to be my Outsider self, in all my glory.  Here I am able to do my work, to write all day if I so wish, to tear the kitchen table to pieces and stack it high with magazines and newspaper clippings, to cordon off the den as I pilfer through fabrics and patterns in search of just the right things for that perfect moment.  Here I am able to say let’s go for a drive so we can find some cool trees for me to take pictures of so I can bring them home to sketch and to paint.  I have a man who routinely bits up sticks and twigs and brings them home for me, anxious to see what doll will come forth from my fevered mind, once the energy to work it hits me.

What sort of family life can we have?  I am an Outsider.  I have given birth to Outsiders as well.  Are they born or are they raised that way?  I think we are born and raised.  Some born to it; some raised to it; some both born and raised,  I am a born and raised Outsider.  I am always on the outside looking in.

All I can say is I now have a network of Outsider friends.  We are not in daily contact.  That is simply not how we work.  But we do have contact.  We do know another of our own kind when we see them.  I cannot perfect things for my children, but I can help them acknowledge and find their own ways, their own space.  And I can include them in mine.

written by:


Written by Tabitha Low

July 22, 2009 at 6:21 am

Oh, the Things I’ve Seen

with 4 comments

During the end of my career as a state employee, I worked across the street from the State Capitol of California.


Every day brought a new adventure at the Capitol, be it a demonstration or presentation. “Breasts Not Bombs” brought hoards of men to the west steps of the Capitol. One couldn’t help but notice there were very few women. Instead of the bare breasted women that had been arrested at a demonstration in another city weeks before, the men saw other men and a few women wearing plaster casts of mammary glands.

I really enjoyed the “presentations.” There was usually free stuff. On those days I would cross the street, walk through the beautiful Capitol park, and find which of the four sides of the Capitol had the freebies. Sometimes it was a health fair or an event put on by a corporation. Once it was Planned Parenthood of America and there were goodies galore geared toward sex education for high school students. Now don’t be afraid when I tell you there were some interactive demonstrations at this event…Noting there was a large group gathered near one booth, I became curious. I found myself a place near the back of the crowd where I could see. (It’s good to be tall.) There was a young woman blindfolded. I had raise myself on my tippy toes to see what she was doing. Oh, she was putting a condom on a banana while her classmates teased her ruthlessly.

Some of the events were quite touching. Like the one that was held on the north side of the Capitol where there were small coffins placed on the lawn. They represented the number of people who were the victims of violent crimes.

The one event that affected me more than any other was on the south side, but a half block down from the Capitol. It was a huge labyrinth made of shoes. There were shoes that lined the sidewalk and path to the labyrinth…thousands of shoes. They were the shoes of ordinary people that had died in Iraq…their actual shoes. Next to those were boots…hundreds of pairs of boots. The boots of the soldiers that had died in Iraq.

As I walked the labyrinth, I cried and couldn’t stop. Thankful that it was a Saturday, I let the tears flow. The shoes of all the children was what had pierced my heart. Some of them were so tiny. I think I must have shed a tear for each pair of shoes, each pair of boots that day.

My all time favorite day was on the west steps of the Capitol. The Tibetan Monks were there. They traveled around the U.S. sharing the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism and making sand mandalas, selling their many splendored hand made crafts to raise money for their monastery in Dhamsala, India near the home of the Dalai Lama. This day, however, the monks were there to chant, blow their massive horns, and pray. And let me tell you, if there is any place that needs prayers it is the place where the lawmakers of California do their work.

After all the chanting, prayers, and horn playing of the monks in their full regalia consisting of their saffon robes and big taco shaped yellow hats with the fringe on top, we took them on a tour of the inside of the Capitol. As they followed me into the Senate Chambers, I turned to watch. The monks all shuddered as though passing by the ruins of a great tragedy. Lobsong, the monk I had known for many years, noticed me trying to hide my snickers. He said the place didn’t feel good. I gave them a brief explanation of what took place in the chambers then had them all look up at the ceiling to see the gargoyle that was placed there to remind the head of the Senate to be humble. It was a real challenge for the interpreter to find a word for gargoyle. Before the monks left, they asked if they could pray in there. I thought so since the Senate was out of session. There was almost regret as a fear the prayers would take hours!

Just after I returned to work after recovering from my broken leg, I was treated to an event on the other side of the building away from the Capitol. It was a movie premiere starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman (whose father incidentally is an expert in Tibetan Buddhism) and The Rock (yum!) in a comedy/crime movie, “Be Cool.” I was always the last person out of the office, so I though I would stay even later and check it out from my fourth floor window. The police were out in full force and so were the protesters as the Governator (as we call him) wanted to cut the salaries of the workers employed by the State of California. Sitting there waiting to see the celebrities, I learned all songs and chants of the state employees gathered in protest. (This was in 2005. I wouldn’t want to hear what they would be chanting now!) Anyway, it was facinating watching the police, listenting to the protesters, calling my friends to tell them what I was doing.

 All of a sudden I hear the pounding of footsteps on the floor above me which happened to be the roof!  I wasn’t sure if I should open the window and scream for the police…oh, yeah they were painted shut. As my mind ran through a series of explatives, I suddenly recalled that the agents had come into the office asking for roof access and talking with our parole agents about security stuff. Whew! Then I was thinking that here I was sitting in the dark (so I could see better-no reflections) on the windowsill of an office building that should have been vacant and if anyone shot the Governor, I would be first on their list of subjects. I imagined myself being drug out of the place (sans crutches or cane) thrown into an interrogation room for 100 hours and I hadn’t eaten dinner! Maybe I should go through the refrigerator in the break room and eat what was in there. I could apologize to those whose future lunch I ate. They would understand…

The crowd grew into a frenzied roar as the Governor and The Rock entered the reception tent in front of the theater. Crap! (and stronger explatives) I sat on a thin windowsill trying to get comfortable with a nearly healed broken leg, an empty stomach, and the threat of the secret service over my head (literally) and handsome Johnny wasn’t there? I mean The Rock is a hunk and a fine speciman of a man, but he’s no Travolta…and Arnold Schwartzenegger? Neither was he! (He’s not as tall as one would think.)

Now that I am retired, I look back on the police on horseback,


the convoy of vehicles that came out of the underground garage whenever Governor Schwartzenegger exited the premises, the occasional bagpiper walking through the gardens, and the many random demonstrations and events that took place and I miss it all. (And yes, even I joined a demonstration for a cause I felt strongly about.) But, that is about all I miss about working and my old office moved several blocks away anyway.

I will always miss Rocky, who I got to know while pretending to be a paparazzi outside a restaraunt where the Governator was dining. I didn’t get a photo of the Gov as he was behind a vehicle taller than him; however, I believe that Rocky was trying to tell me something…What’s on his mind?


Written by Sally

July 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Red Typewriter

with 5 comments

Ocean girl dives for poetry dreams.
She looks for words out windows.


Her red typewriter tapped away in her imagination. It was an old typewriter, like one you see in those mystery movies when the secretary is typing and then her boss enters with a request for a file, or a phone call she must make. Her fingers pressed the keys hard to get each one to mark the page.

As a young girl she would lie flat on her stomach on her bed to write in her diary. It was thick blank paged book, light blue in colour with a dark blue binding. She spent so many hours filling it with words: words of frustration about her mother, vivid description of foods as she was always hungry due to their relative poverty, and sometimes words from the news. She spilled them out, and changed her pen colours every now and then to make the page look more interesting. The pages if you could have eaten them would have tasted of rainbows. Sometimes she even had those scented pens and the pages reeked of the perfume of letters. She saved her pocket money and went to a special store to buy them.

There were words of secret loves and calculations of how many times a certain boy had looked at her, and what colour his eyes really were if you looked closely enough. Hazel eyes, green eyes, blue eyes? Sometimes she wrote about stories her friends told her, especially a girl named Leesa.

Leesa was the storyteller legend she followed around and asked again and again to tell her stories. Lessa was from Mornington Island, and her skin was a wonderful scorched brown just like her Papua New Guinean Mum’s. Leesa was her first Aboriginal Friend.


Ah there were many diaries and many words. She had boxes of them by the time she left home. It may surprise you that she burnt all the words when she left home. Or maybe it won’t. She worried that some of her words might hurt someone somewhere, most especially her mother. She didn’t want her secret diaries to ever make it into print after all they were the immature words of a teenager trying to find her way. She wanted her words to only be somewhere inside her ready for her to retrieve but no one else. She had not really considered the limitations of memory to retrieve those words. The words could not sit in the red typewriter. Or could they?

She read The Diary of Ann Frank and was amazed at Anne’s openness within her diary. She cried when she read that diary and thought of Anne locked up in a cupboard, dreaming, frustrated and wanting to make it out into the bright world where the rainbows waited. She felt her own efforts were nothing compared to this girl who poured even more than she could ever imagine onto a page. Did she know that her fate would be to be that series of precious moments of life seized and lived and written of and that she would be a powerful testimony to catastrophe? What was Ann’s significance when she began to write the diary and what was her own significance when her diary outlived her fate and she too became part of history- ‘Oh the power of voice.’ She wondered about the power of voice. She imagined herself in conversation with Anne Frank, like many other girls across the world. “I am no Anne Frank, history like that will not be repeated. Although watching the news one couldn’t be sure.”


She knew that she had always wanted to be a writer. She had gone through an over use of adjective phase. She had searched for her identity voice and spoken of cultural issues of being a second generation migrant. She had been TS Eliot with her smoky alleyways of thought poem and had searched for a lost albatross like Coleridge.

The red typewriter was from her European grandparents. They had lived in Geneva. Every year her grandmother sent her two cards. The letters were always rather formal. Sometimes though she made homemade cards, and pictured on the front were bunny rabbits with purple aprons and winged seeds that made their ears. There was a sense of fun to the covers that was at odds with the inner formal tone. Maybe her grandmother did care for her in her own way.

Her European grandparents were remote figures who she met only three times in her life that she could remember. Her father was particularly distant from them because they had not accepted his Papua New Guinean “coloured” wife. Nor for that matter had they accepted her uncle’s first wife, a Jewish Lady. Yet, it was these same grandparents who were pleased to hear she wanted to write, and who when she visited them a few years later gave her the red typewriter.

She wondered what they expected her to write of them. She remembered breakfast at their beach house. It was a boiled egg with runny insides that you dipped finger toast into, followed by some hot Milo. She remembered her uncle taking a big boxer dog for a walk and feeling kind of strange to be the child chosen to be the visiting grandchild. Perhaps though it was because she had become the family scribe and dutifully wrote her grandmother letters. She could not remember for the life of her what she specifically wrote about- maybe school, the weather, what her brothers were up to, at least what was okay to put in a letter as one brother in particular was getting himself regularly into strife.

However their red typewriter had some competition. It was the songs of her bubu, her Papua New Guinean grandmother who she heard might be coming to live with them. She was always on her way but never with them. She was a song rising from a village many miles away. She was a chant on a tape deck and there was no photograph, nothing to picture her but to imagine maybe she looked like her mother.

Her European grandmother although remote was more tangible to her. She was not highly educated. Her Dad said she spoke French with a gutter accent, and her grandfather by contrast spoke it at university level.

Her bubu (grandfather) was a carver excommunicated from the church for his heathen art- all these stories, all these words they were not hers but her parents. Their memories were singing out from the memory of the red typewriter asking to be written. They wanted to have their own voice.
She looked for her own story ‘is my story their story.’ Sometimes there were experiences that came straight out of books, like meeting an anthropologist who had studied her bubu’s village and who had actually met her grandfather, old Malolo. It felt so strange to her to finally see a photograph of a relative and to see an image of an Aunty just like her mother! She would have known. She would have run to her and hugged her.

She remembered her European grandfather learning Maori every week, and taking her to meet his teacher. Why, as her Dad’s stories had it, did they not accept her mother? Why did they now accept her? She remembered looking at the carvings with him but she did not think of her other bubu for she had never met him. She was the discarded wife. He was so far away and would be dead before she would ever meet him.

None of this was in those diaries she burnt, because all this knowledge and experience came later. She wished she could say to that young girl and her red typewriter, notice everything, plants, people, food, colour, aromas, tastes, everything that happens as you travel. Remember because this is your story, your testimony.

She pressed the keys harder and harder and stories began to flow. Once she began to get them down it was impossible to stop.

Extract from Island Rock Girl
(c) June Perkins, all rights reserved

Written by June

July 20, 2009 at 5:26 am


with 9 comments


Gouache, watercolor, and colored marker

L. Gloyd (c) 2009

Written by Pelican1

July 19, 2009 at 4:16 am

Posted in Art, Art Journaling, Lori


with 3 comments

musing on the myriad ways memories affect us and how elusive memories can be, i have started a number of poems to capture different memories and how memories change through time and space.

For Cyan

i always thought her pale face beautiful ethereal but
it marked her heart as it had been since birth
unable to keep up unable to match a girl much less an infant
and so the surgeries marred her
we never saw physical scars no
she was our fairy child
we saw the scars in her eyes and her writing and the pain reflected

her dark hair grew she dyed it varying colors hid behind it when
drugs smoothed the lines of her face and created a body that a 16
year old teenager could not have cared for
i created a costume to hide it all but in the end
her friends pulled her free
and she danced for the camera as they did

and then
she was gone
closeted in the hospital behind white doors waiting for a new heart
a panacea a perfect solution
we waited breath held
for one heart
first a bad heart—who sends a bad heart to a dying girl?
to be removed again from our fairy girl
and lo
another match a new heart the solution
we talked that night so optimistic in medical terms and emotional
as she lay struggling for breath

and so that next morning that the ethereal body that pale face
could not handle the trauma once more
the scars in her eyes were gone
her breathing stilled

she watches me sitting on stone walls with a solemn face or shy smile
and sometimes i catch sight of her dancing in the rain
she is freer now with her laughter and her eyes lighter in spirit
she feels no pain

in this place called his soul

in this place called his soul
her pain matched his for too long
her confusion followed his down the dark hallways’
twists and turns
her love tried to keep up
as his leapt and ran through tortured tunnels

she stands no longer in that place called his soul
she hears his voice faintly
but the pain is not hers
the hallways no longer hers to follow
the love belongs elsewhere

and although for a time they were lost in the tunnels
she will walk away
she has meadows to run in flowers to find
she has clarity of purpose and mind
and the pain is gone
the sunlight hers at last

a painting

a memory
a painting of great detail and minute accuracy
step closer
peer at the brushwork the intense color
what is this
small flakes of paint have begun to fall
the artist must have used inferior paint

this memory
of great detail and minute accuracy
goes like this
(the bits of paint that have fallen cannot be replaced
the girl has not been 6 for 40 years and the grandfather
is happily
a grandfather and his granddaughter sit on the couch
she 6 years of age in shorts of blue shirt of ……….
his pants ……. shirt plaid his cane leaned beside him
such a nice portrayal
he speaks to her, “…….. ,”
and she allows him to reach inside her shirt
and ……………….. then pulls his hand away
he reaches for the zipper of her shorts but fumbles
she begins to help but ………………………..
he says, “ ……… ,”
she leaves the living room and runs towards safety
her brothers’ room but they yell at her to leave
so she goes ……………… to hide until her mother returns

the grandfather?
we do not know
this is the girl’s memory
his memory died with him
or flaked away before him
so that he died with an empty canvas

not what i wish to give

even though you have exhausted all human constraints on what should and
should not be a trial on the spirit of any one person
i place my hand where your heart should be to still it from its frantic beat

even though you are a ghost
in the true sense of the word a spirit that wanders the world
though your corporeal self still remains (that is a mystery of course)
i smile at your ghost to encourage its return—you should not be without it

even though that ghost is malignant malign: baneful, malicious, misogynist
just the leftovers of your desperate work on a life full of flaws and human-ness

i read a paragraph and think that you would enjoy the play of words across the page
the interwoven message
i hear a word a story a message from the world and know that this is something you should know

the ghost hovers listening wanting
not what i am wishing to give
i wave a hand to send it on its way home
and hope that some of the warmth the calm are carried with it on the wind

Written by senua

July 18, 2009 at 5:07 am

Creative Armour

with 6 comments


Cruising around SFC I came across the Creative Armoury link and read:

In this project the object is to protect the fragile creative spirit from attack by disparaging forces.

The idea of armour and protection reminded me of a photograph of unusual armour I recently saw on a web site for the Museum of Victoria.  The armour dated from the 1850s and came from  the Gilbert Islands in the Pacific.  The islanders were very war like and made body armour from woven coconut fibre and dried shark skins.  Helmets were constructed from the skin of Puffer Fish.

‘Ah, perfect armour for my Piscean self,’ I thought and then proceeded to wonder if I really was a fish what kind of fish would I be.  I decided I would like to be a flying fish that was equally at home in air and water.

All this thinking about fishy armour resulted in these pages in my sketch book.  (My sketch book is larger than my scanner so they haven’t scanned very well).

Flying fish

Here’s the link that will take you to a photograph of the Puffer fish helmet.

Written by Suzanne

July 18, 2009 at 3:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

tomato haiku

with 10 comments

a local contest:  tomato haiku.  and i thought, why not?  a perfect writing prompt. unfortunately, my ability to even count accurately to 5 and 7 has been frustratingly difficult. so if there are one too few or too many syllables, blame the chemo.

tumbles of heavy juice fat
fruit in red and orange
mute tomato love untouched

cherry in size the number
uncounted weapons
fruit paint balls for little boys

so lovely in shape and curve
the color unmarred
but wait! a bite! which small child?

love apple streaks of green, red
sweet slices laid out
for a lover to enjoy

at 2 she wanders the rows
eating beans peppers
tomatoes drip from hand, mouth

white tomatoes ghostly fruit
are you meant to be
eaten or just exalted

the plants died tomatoes left
half-grown not yet red
the culprit? a black walnut

Written by senua

July 17, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Posted in Creative prompts

Tagged with , ,

Tilly Playfair Gets Ahead

with 7 comments

by Anita Marie Moscoso

based on the Soul Food Cafe Writing Prompt

The Lonely Ones


Tilly Playfair’s Grandmother ( who lived with the Tilly and her parents ) belonged to a Senior Citizens Activity Group that use to meet every Tuesday and Thursday.

At least once a month they’d  take a three day trip to the Ocean ( during the Spring and Summer ) or to one of the ” Art Colonies ” up north passed Seattle ( during the Winter ).

Everyone in Lydia Playfair’s Senior Group had some sort of talent they’ve developed after they joined the group. They say things like, ” isn’t it a shame I didn’t have the time to do this when I was younger ” or ” I just didn’t have experience to do this kind of work before…”

After hearing that for years Tilly Playfair knew she was luckier then most people because she found her true talent when she was only 13 years old…it sort of put her head and shoulders above the rest of us.


It was August, it was about eight in the morning and it was already 70 degrees and climbing. Most people in the Playfair’s neighborhood were getting ready for another scorcher and they were already getting short tempered just thinking about the heat… but not Tilly.

Extreme weather didn’t bother Tilly.

Only on that Tuesday morning she did mind because Tuesday was garbage day and it was her turn to drag the trash cans to the curb.

Those three cans were heavy and everything inside of them had been ‘cooking’ over the weekend and boy did they smell.

They didn’t stink, or simply offend the nose.

Do you want to know how bad it was?

Tilly’s eyes started watering the minute she came around the corner of the house…that’s how bad it was.

With grim determination Tilly grabbed one can by it’s handle and took it to the curb. However, by the time she had come back for the third can she was cursing God and her family and every single jerk who had ever generated trash anywhere in the world.

She was so caught up in her own drama at that moment that the can tilted and juice…this brown runny water sloshed up and over the rim and onto her hand.

” My hand!” she screamed ” my hand! ” This was the hand she used to eat with and pick her nose and pet her cat and now it was covered in trash can ooze.

Tilly let go of the can and it innocently righted itself…it was just as safe and sound as ever. It would never know  the agony Tilly was feeling at that moment.

And that wasn’t right…it was unfair and unjust and Tilly decided to do something about it.

She stepped back, pulled her left shoulder forward and then she with over 7 years of soccer experience under her belt she drew her right  foot back and kicked the can over.


Tilly left the fallen beast on it’s side and she pushed most of the trash back into the can with a snow shovel. Then with the shovel still in the can she pushed the can upright and turned to pick up the lid.

It was gone of course.

She was about to scream…not yell but scream when she saw it under the Holly tree at the side of the yard. She went over to the tree got down on all fours and had just reached under the tree when she felt something roll and hit her hand.

Curious  she grabbed the lid and tossed it towards the curb and then she parted the lower branches and looked in.

And looking back up at her was a face with no nose.

The face didn’t have lips or ears and at first it looked like the eyes were gone but they had simply sunk back and had collapsed into the sockets.

Tilly guessed she should have hollered or fainted or run for help. If she had flown into hysterics no one would have blamed her. It was sort of like a get out of jail free card.

Only this card said, ” have the screaming willies as loud as you want “

Instead Tilly reached out and with one finger she poked at the head and watched it roll a little from left to right.

Right then, as the severed head rolled from side to side, she named it Ernie. The she got up dusted herself off  and went into her house to start the day.


For the next couple of weeks Tilly stopped by the Holly tree to visit Ernie. On some days Ernie looked about the same and then all of the sudden he just sort of came apart.

Then September rolled along and it started to rain so Tilly went and found an empty paint can and a pair of gardening gloves in her garage.

She went back out to where Ernie was and she popped him into the can and with a few taps along the rim with a rock she closed him up in his new home and she took him into her house.

For awhile she kept him under her bed, then she put him into the lowest and tallest drawer in her vanity and on some days she even took him outside and put him under the Holly tree-

for old times sake.

Then one day Tilly came home from School and was surprised to find her Grandmother at home and not out with her Seniors Group doing ” art”

Instead her Grandmother and another little old lady were doing some ” Spring Cleaning” as a surprise for Tilly’s Mom.

She was going to be surprised alright considering it was October Tilly said and both the old ladies laughed at Tilly’s joke and invited her to run along unless she wanted to ‘help’.

Of course Tilly said she had homework and then on her way to her room an awful thought came to Tilly. She ran up the stairs to her bedroom, she dove towards her bed she reached under it and…

Ernie was gone.

She went to her closet and looked on the top shelf, she pulled open her vanity drawers and she even opened the top ones that were way to small for Ernie.

Then she fainted.

When Tilly tried to stand  she was so light headed she almost fainted again. All  she could do was stand there doubled up and she trying  to force herself to breathe normal when her Grandmother tapped on the door.

Tilly tried to say ” Come in ” but all she could do was wheeze.

The door swung in and there was her Grandmother looking grim and angry with the paint can in her hands. ” Next time you want one of these young lady…get your own.”

So Tilly decided to do just that.

In the end she was  famous for it.



Written by Anita Marie

July 17, 2009 at 3:11 am

It begins with ….

with 10 comments

believe in the possibility - dream

It starts with the lap top, the voice of a girl and the rain. It begins with no distraction, a desk, a window, and ends up following the distraction of imagination. It beats down like the water from the boats travelling in the sky and cuts up the clouds.

The memory rains down and says, ‘they will give you a red typewriter and you will never stop writing. You are the girl with the red smiley stories.’ It says ‘Your life was a fairytale,’ to which you say, ‘I don’t know what you mean. How can that be so?’

Yet, looking back you see, the witches, the fairies, the birth of a dragon from the rainforest and you know there is a fairytale to be told. You still resist and in contempt fire back: ‘I haven’t done anything heroic, I haven’t survived a tragedy, climbed a super tall mountain, become a movie star, who would want to read my stories.’

‘Look again,’ says the memory rain. Now you see it, the mother who lets go of her children to send them out into the world with a shell song, the sister who hears messages from the soul garden as the Willy Wagtail comes to visit, the mother who must make sense of death and recover from an attempted home invasion, and a woman who has left the South to live in the North and in her attempt to leave is haunted by ghosts from the north who hide in her boot.

You can hear story ghosts singing out in the cane, smell pumpkin pie, transform rusty tin into gold coins- because you are a storyteller’s Godmother, you are memory and imagination dancing hand, in hand with constant change.

People can change, can transform, can write everyday just like breathing and they can change what they understand the past as I cannot cry for what I cannot predict, rather I hope for what I dream into being.
Is this your real life, or your past re-imagined- is it fiction, faction, myth or fantasy? Is this a dream from which the story is woken? Now you are off to be a ‘story catcher’ as Christina Baldwin describes.
It ends with the lap top, the woman, the rain and the opening of tub after tub of honey full of story.

believe in the possibility - dream

Image: believe in the possibility dream – by gumbootspearlz
(c) June Perkins all rights reserved —Excerpt from Work in progress Island Rock Girl

More of June’s work is at Unity’s garden

Written by June

July 16, 2009 at 1:59 am

I wonder why

with one comment

Beware of self-importance. Did I say that wrong? Yes? Sorry. Thanks.  Beware of self-impotence. The ancient Seers said. It was the image of The Self. An anchor. In truth. It is, they said. Beware. The image of Self is attractive. It can be wounded. Demeaned, conditioned. Desires, propensities, needs. All as important as The Self.

Did I say that wrong? Yes? Yes. Sorry, again. Thanks, again. All as impotent as the self. They spoke of being balanced. Aware. The world around us. One’s personal environment. Being balanced and aware. On guard. Protecting our self-impotence. To think, a personal insult. More threatening than. What? A touch’n go near-miss on the freeway?

The Seers. The Shamans of old. Viewed things from a different angle. The sense-of-self was an anchor. An impediment. Foolishly accepted. Fiercely protected. Cherished. Lovingly cultivated in our garden of self-impotence. But why? Because our elders did thus? Traumas are real. But somethings we agree to accept. Fear to lose. Protectively hoard. I wonder why.

I wonder. A lovely day. The Point Crux Beach. Savo, five miles distant. Could I swim that far? I know a guy. Swam from Kolombangara to Gizo. A fund raising activity. It took nine hours. Could I swim to Savo? With a bit of training? But I wouldn’t do it jeans. Or with a weight-belt.

I wonder why. We go through life. “Carrying the weight of the Worlds”. And perversely enjoying every step. I recall an old Mantra, “When you seek it. You cannot find it. Your hand cannot reach it. Your mind cannot exceed it. When you no longer seek it. It is always with you.” I wonder why.

Written by nativeiowan

July 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Art Journaling: The Acronym Game

with 5 comments

Following a prompt in SARK’s book, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper, I created this journal entry using my name as an acronym to describe an aspect of myself.

In case you can’t read it, the text goes:





Some people say that I am too emotional. Some people say I ‘take things too personally.’ Actually I think it is my intuition that rises up and sniffs the air. It prowls in the grey matter of the morning, just before dawn, searching for the path that will lead me through the daylight. It is real. It is real. it is real and I live it.

L. Gloyd (c) 2009

Written by Pelican1

July 14, 2009 at 11:19 am

Posted in Art Journaling, Lori

52nd Avenue West

with 12 comments

by Anita Marie Moscoso

inspired by

Portals and Pavements

One night

in my neighbor’s front yard

I saw a man digging  a hole just up off of the sidewalk

by the orange glow of a streetlight

which kept flashing off and on with a buzz and a hum and a click.

I asked the man if he was burying something.

Buzz. Hum. Click.

Maybe it was one of Mrs Figueroa’s many black cats which were always running around in the street in the middle of the night.

Was it one of her cats I asked.

Buzz. Hum. Click.

They were all fine he told me.

Maybe he was helping to move around one of Mrs Figueroa’s many rose bushes that dotted her fence line. Maybe Mrs. Figueroa wanted one of her white rose bushes right under her living room window where she could see it when she opened her curtains in the morning.

Is that what he was doing, moving flowers around? I asked.

Buzz. Hum. Click.


So- come one- what gives I ask, what are you burying here in the dark under a streetlight that won’t stay on.

I’m not burying anything he told me.

Buzz. Hum. Click

I’m digging something up.


Written by Anita Marie

July 14, 2009 at 12:23 am