Pythian Games

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At Her Age

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By Kerry Vincent © 2008


            Josh really didn’t want to waste an afternoon driving out to the country, but Amy begged him to, and he really liked Amy. 

            “We don’t have to stay very long, Josh, just enough to set up Aunt Lou’s new computer.  You can set up a workstation in your sleep,” Amy reminded him.

            “OK.  As long as she doesn’t make us stay for dinner or something like that.  You know how lonely old ladies are – they just want to talk you to death,” Josh grumbled.

            “In and out, I promise,” Amy said.

            They turned down the gravel road that led to Aunt Lou’s log cabin.  Athena, a yellow lab, ran out to greet them, barking like crazy.  Isis, a calico cat sleeping on the porch, barely looked up at the visitors.  The young people got out and walked up to the porch, dodging homemade wind chimes and ducking under low-hanging baskets of pansies. 

Amy knocked on the front door, which was painted turquoise and coral.  “Aunt Lou loves the desert look,” Amy explained.

            “I can tell,” Josh said, looking at a bleached cow skull nailed above the mailbox.  “This is kind of creepy.”

            “Oh, Josh, she’s just a harmless little old lady.  She probably just got a computer so she can see pictures of the grandkids or shop QVC online.  Just get the machine set up, and we can get back in time to watch American Idol.”   

            Aunt Lou welcomed them.  “Hello, Amy, and this must be your young man, Josh…Come in, come in…Can I get you some tea?  Juice?  Coca-Cola?”

            “Just water is fine, Aunt Lou,” Amy said.

            “Alright.  The computer’s in there, on the dining room table.  Take a look,” said Aunt Lou, and trotted off to the kitchen.  She came back with three glasses of ice water and a plate of gingersnaps.

            Josh was impressed with the hardware, the deluxe laser printer, although he thought so much memory would be a waste for Aunt Lou – she didn’t even play video games.  She had a nice set up.  He clicked on the Control Panel, made some adjustments, tested the Internet connection, plugged in some wires, and in less than 15 minutes, he announced, “You’re good to go.  Want me to bookmark some Favorites for you or anything?”

            “Oh, no, dear, I think I can figure that out myself.  As long as I can get to my email and the Internet, I can take it from there.  I want to get in touch with some of my retired teacher friends.  They can walk me through if I get stuck.”

            “Sweet,” Josh said. 

            “I suppose you young people have better things to do than sit with an old gal like me,” Aunt Lou said.  “Run along now.  I’ll be fine.”

            “I worry about you getting bored out here,” said Amy. 

“I’m fine – and now I can write my friends emails – thanks to you!  Don’t worry about me.  My life may not seem exciting to you, but I’m happy,” Aunt Lou said.

“Well, then, if you’re OK, I guess we’ll take off.  Good-bye, now….”  Amy and Josh went to the car and drove off. 

            “Do you think Aunt Lou gets lonely, living out there in the sticks all by herself?” Josh asked.

            “I dunno – she never complains,” Amy said.  “She’s got her hobbies, her painting and crocheting, and now she can email her old school cronies if she gets too bored.  I guess when you get old, you slow down, and don’t need much excitement anymore.”



Back at the cabin, Aunt Lou had the Internet fired up, ready to surf.  She laughed out loud and said, “Look out, Lemuria, here I come!”



Written by kvwordsmith

May 7, 2008 at 7:04 pm

A Writer Without a Page

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She had been around the writer’s block a few times.  She had read her Natalie Goldberg and her Julia Cameron.  She knew all about writing practice and morning pages.  She had been published over the years in small press, trade mags, newspapers, poetry collections.  She’d even been paid a couple of times ($700 over a 20-year period – you do the math.)

She had a minor in Fine Arts and attended workshops and two different writer’s fellowships over the years. 

She had done freelance articles, newsletters, brochures, marketing collateral, computer program instructions, document editing/formatting/proofreading, was even making a living by hack inkslinging.  Long ago she’d given up her dream of being a paid, published serious writer, making a living at what she loved.  It was so hard to break in, find an agent, get a deal.  The publishing industry had changed.  Few independent bookstores, fewer independent publishers, no room for the less-than-mainstream.  It was hard not to be bitter.

She had been discouraged for a long, long time.  Why write?  No one cared, no one would read it.  She had given up, mostly, although she still kept her journal – it helped.  “Focus on the process, not the product” was her creative mantra anymore.  She turned to other art forms, beads and stained glass and flameworking.  She was a writer without a page.

So who was this Heather and her Soul Food Café, and why did she need to be a part of it?  She wouldn’t get paid.  No royalties.  New York publishing houses didn’t review it.  Was blogging just a hobby, an Internet-age vanity press?  She’d look into it, make up her own mind.

So she clicked here and there and found – kindred souls!  People who cared! People who still think art makes a difference.  Warm, welcoming folks, willing to share their hearts and their knowledge and wisdom.  People who understand writing is not mere self-indulgence, it is a way to nurture the spirit.  A support group for artists – an answer to the loneliness of working in isolation, as so many writers and painters do.  A world of connections, all across the globe, of people who believe in the healing power of creativity, of transforming tragedy into significant art. 

She found herself looking forward to seeing what had been posted, who said what, to challenging herself with the prompts from the Mad Challenges, to posting her own work, receiving kind words, publishing something daring, learning that it might inspire someone else to create a response in another medium, sharing pain, being comforted, making new friends, learning new things.  Heather said making a commitment to daily writing or art practice would change her – and Heather was right.  She created – and shared – and got good feedback – and wanted to create some more.  Plus she was learning computer skills while she was having fun playing with words and talking to her new friends. 

Soul Food Café put the JOY back into writing for her.

by Kerry Vincent (c) 2008

Written by kvwordsmith

March 25, 2008 at 7:21 pm