Cloud Banks

I’m in a cloud bank.  A wet and rainy mist-shrouded world of constant drip, drip, dripping.  Plunking on the metal roof, and a perpetual splat sound echoing outside.  Rain, rain, rain. It’s wet, it’s misty, it’s damp.  Paper is feeling damp.  The hygrometer says it’s 77% humidity in the house.  Damp, damp.  Soon anything that shouldn’t mold, might start.  It’s an old house.  Things mold.  Musty smells are common.  Thank goodness it’s not Britain….

The year started off dry.  So dry.  With one small snow storm that turned to ice for weeks… or a week (a week of ice feels much longer than it really is).  No rain.  Dry, dry, dry.  Everyone kept asking. “Well, what are you going to do if it doesn’t rain?”  This was in December or early January….  Can I smack those people now?  Not rain! Ha! Right.

Why do people feel the need to bemoan the weather before the season is even over? I get so tired of people saying it’s too wet, it’s too dry, it’s too windy, it’s too hot, it’s too cold.  Really?  Is there any perfect weather?  Uh, no.

We live in California. It can rain, it can snow, and it can be dry.  Heck, it can do that all in one afternoon where I live.  You think I’m joking?  The standard reply to whether or not you like the weather is to wait five minutes.  It can change that fast here.  Yet people that live here feel the need to predict the bad weather 6 months in advance, or ask me what I might do because of the bad weather, when the result will be six months from now.  That’s like asking me right now what I plan to have for dinner on the 8th of August.  Tell you what, why don’t you call me up on that day and ask me.  Not now.

So, rain rain rain.  It’s good.  There might be some minor flooding for the area, but hey, we can handle it.  Though I’m sure someone, somewhere is going to be complaining there head off about it.  Don’t look at me, I don’t make the weather.  Ask the Big Guy upstairs.

Signing off

~Kate

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Truer Words Couldn’t Be Spoken

 Photo by Kevin Winter – © 2014 Getty Images – Image courtesy gettyimages.com

Photo by Kevin Winter – © 2014 Getty Images – Image courtesy gettyimages.com

The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine addled, crippled by procrastination, and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.  ~Robert DeNiro via the 86th Academy Awards teleprompter

Now, the really question is, how many good days are there for a writer? I caught this marvelous quote right way the other night while watching the Oscars, and I’m not the only other person who latched onto this statement. Type it into Bing and you will get several blog post pop up with this same quote used as the topic of Monday’s posts. It is a truly powerful statement in regards to writers.

In fact this statement is so true that you know only a writer wrote it for Robert DeNiro to say.  My mother stared at me and at the television, her jaw dropping  because it is so true in regards to me. I have actually been mulling over a post regarding the real issue of being a writer is because of our own fears. So this is apropos. What keeps us from writing are those moments of procrastination, panic, and self-loathing. We drink coffee or tea like fiends , and often we don’t have good days.

Unless you are talking to another writer, you definitely feel complete and utter isolation. Desolation. Non-writers do not understand what is going through our heads and there is no point in trying to explain. Non-writers stare at you, a blank expression on their face, and that’s when you know you are neurotic because obviously it only makes sense to us.

We fail to send in our manuscripts and query letters because we are ‘crippled by procrastination’ and dealing with ‘soul crushing inadequacy.’  “I’ll never be able to write like ____________[FILL IN THE BLANK].

Then there we are at two in the morning pounding out this idea that CANNOT wait till daylight, our eyes heavy and dark. WE wake to circles under the eyes from lack of sleep, staggering to the coffee pot before we are even lucid, only to look over what we had written in the dark and think to ourselves, ‘Utter crap!’

Rewriting over and over, tweaking even after it’s ‘done’ and ready to be sent off to editors, agents, or publishers. It will never be perfect. Twenty years in print and we will still want to change something that everyone else is perfectly fine with. We are never satisfied.

Even this post will be tweaked before the “publish” button is clicked, and three days from now I will want to change something.  (I wrote this yesterday in ink; I’m typing it now; and I’ve already changed a couple things)

The mind of a writer is a terrifying thing. What is going on in there leads to nightmares and moments when you space out trying to solve some plot twist. Random scraps of notes that are all gibberish to the ordinary person, but are pure gold to the author, frequent our lives and flat surfaces. We fill our notebooks with random odd sayings and pieces of conversation that we just might use someday, in some book that has yet to be written. We hoard our dictionaries and thesauruses. We keep books for varies pieces we like that we might include in a passage here or there.

And those are the good days.

Bad days are more frequent, in my opinion, and lead to giving up saying you’ll never write again. Days you want to rip up every typed page or shut down your blog because, hey, you’ll never write again. Depression where you are in such a funk that every living thing avoids you. The bad days feel like the depths of despair and there is no light at the end of the tunnels.

Oh, but we are writers, and it’s a wondrous thing.

Signing off

~Kate

Life Goes On

sochi  After two weeks plus of winter Olympics, I’m at a loss.  The world means just a little less to me and there is nothing to look forward to.  Life goes on.

Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but honestly, after filling each night with sports for over a two week period, it just seems a little empty without all that drama.  I really got hooked into the Olympics this year. Not that I don’t every time they come around, but it seems like this time I was really focused on all the events.  I cut out some of my regularly scheduled watching for certain things like speed skating, which I normally love, to watching much more alpine events.  And curling. I have watched a fair amount of curling, though definitely not enough to what I would like to watch.curling-sochi-triangle-e1392306863656

I got hooked on curling with the Salt Lake City or maybe Torino games.  I was taping them in the middle of the night and watching them with my dad.  I got hooked on curling.  I only remember to really focus on it ever four years, but when I do, watch out, you are gonna hear about it.

I have gotten my sister to like watching the three hour games, and she will watch them as she folds laundry.  And I show great moves to my father, and try to explain the game to my mom, and wonder why everyone says the game is so hard to understand.  It has got to be the most simple thing to get.  It blows my mind that people don’t understand, and my only take on it is, they don’t really want to.

Sochi-Olympics-Curling-Men-1I have learned all the things I know about curling, rules, lingo, etc, from watching the games. I can explain what the hammer is, the button, a freeze, shot rock, the skip, and I can know where a rock/stone needs to be placed just from the set up.  And I don’t even take a serious look at the game. I just watch it.

Kind of how l learned how tennis was played. I watched it.

It surprises me how little people pay attention to things.  They go along in life saying, “I don’t understand that, or this”, but they never actually take the time to even try.  They are so wrapped up in their own thing that it becomes a cop out.

Yes, I am ranting.

Ted Ligety Sochi 2014

Ted Ligety Sochi 2014

Anyways, the games are over. I loved all of it. Ted Ligety (Split) was one of the most exciting gold medals to see, along with Erin Hamlin and Davis and White.  And Andrew Weibrecht winning silver. All so exciting to see.  I was supremely disappointed with how lousy our two curling teams were.  I saw mistakes everywhere and I do not play the game. I was highly impressed with the Canadian teams and honestly, USA needs to take a few (or more) pointers from them.  We sucked.

Well, the games were great. I can’t wait for South Korea.  And now back to the semi final round of curling with Canada and China, then the gold medal round.  I still have them dvr’ed and I am going to be watching them.  I know, I’m strange.

Signing off

~Kate

Three Wishes – Daily Prompt: Lucky Star

tumblr_m5y9k7oDPX1r3a6jho1_500“If you had three wishes, what would they be for?” he asked as he stroked his fingers up her bare arm.  They were lying out beneath the stars, waiting for the meteor shower she had promised him. Lying on the blankets in the bed of his truck, snuggled together after amusing themselves with taste, touch and passion of skin.  Keeping the chill off their bodies by becoming one.  Bodies that were now slightly chilled from sweat and mountain air.

He pulled the blanket up over her back and pulled her closer.  “Three wishes,” he breathed in her ear, “what would they be?”

She shivered as his breath washed over her and tightened her hand around his waist.

“Mmm.  Well, my first one would be for you to take me again,” she giggled.

“Be serious,” he admonished and tapped her arm in a mock slap.

“I am being serious,” she said provocatively.  “I could use you again.”

“Okay, I’ll file that away for later. But really, what would you wish for?” He said seriously.

She thought for a bit, staring up at the velvety midnight blue sky.  At the diamonds twinkling and she thought hard.

“I’d like to never have to clean the house again,” she finally said.

“We could hire a maid.”

She laughed.  “Don’t be silly. I really don’t mind it that much, but it would be a nice thing.”

“Okay, number two.”

“I’d like to go to Paris.”

“Is that it?” He asked in surprise. He thought she might wish for something outlandish, but Paris was reasonable. Something he could save up and give her in the future, possibly the near future if he was willing to forgo getting a new truck.

“Okay, and the last?” he urged.

“That was the last one.  Sex, maid, and Paris.  Yeah, that’ll do.” She sucked in a breath as he skated his fingers up her ribs that then sent her into peals of laughter when he tickled.

“Confound it woman, you are incorrigible.”

“Stop. Stop!” She laughed and punched him in the arm. He stopped and pulled her close again and she let out a sigh.  “Okay, your turn. What would you want if you had three wishes.”

“Well, while sex might be nice, since I know I can get that, I think I’ll try for something a little more crazy.”  It was his turn to laugh when she smacked him.

“So, first off, not having to work another day in my life, but having plenty of money to make you happy.”

“You do make me happy. Every day,” she murmured.

“I know, but it would be nice if I didn’t have to spend all the time working and could just be with you. Two, I’d like to go to one of the Superbowls.” She rolled her eyes at this, but he ignored her.

“And three?” she prompted. He was much faster at this than her answers, spitting them out like he had thought about them a lot.

“Three.  Three is more tricky.  I’d wish I could own this lake and the mountains surrounding it. It’s been our spot forever, but I’d like to build a cabin or house here so that we could sit out and make love under the stars whenever we wanted without having to drive an hour to get here.”

Via http://ladylandscape.tumblr.com/ Wish all you can ! by Joe Dsilva on Flickr.

She was silent, slightly surprised.  She hadn’t known he loved this place as much as he did, considering it was she who had first brought him to this spot years ago right after they’d met.  She’d never told him why this place was so special, nor that technically the land was hers, or would be eventually.  It hadn’t really mattered because they came here as often as they could in the summer.

“What would you say if I told you that at some point I could grant you the last wish?” she asked, leveling herself up to look down at his face, shadowed in the starlight.

“I’d say you were crazy and how much money did you plan to throw at Uncle Sam?”

“The government doesn’t own this land. My uncle owns it.”

“You don’t say? No wonder we always come here. Why didn’t you tell me it was in the family?”

“Never saw the need to since we came here all the time.  But not only is it in the family, but since I am the only relative of Uncle James, other than Dad, he uh, has me as the heir.  When he dies, I get this land.”

He stared up at her. Emotions flashed across his face; hope, longing, adoration. A mixture of thoughts and dreams bundled up in the surprise.  Clearly she was more able to give him something that meant a lot to the both of them.

“Well, darling,” he said huskily, then flipped her onto her back. “While I might not be able to grant you every wish of yours, and you have certainly thrown a shock to me with your little wish granting, the least I can do is give you your number one wish.”

He kissed her. Then again. Then some more, and as they began to move, the heavens rained down stars. Stars that flashed and granted wishes to all those who had wished.

 

 

 

Wow. How this all came out like this, I’ll never know.  Sorry it’s a little long. I just started writing and could not stop.  I am like that sometimes.  I was picturing the Perseids meteor shower in August of every year.  One of my favorite meteor showers. And I imagine making love under the stars would be, well.  Eh em, moving on.  Lets just say that it sounds delightful.  This was probably not the prompt Daily Prompt: Lucky Star meant, but this is what you get.  I love it and the image is so vivid in my mind.

Enjoy

Signing off

~Kate

New Year – Stealth Mode

Monteverde Invincia Color Fusion Stealth – Goulet Pen Company

It’s a new year and along with that has come the desire for a new pen. I’ve taken to using my fountain pens, three of them, as much as possible when I write. I try to rotate during the week, so that each day has a new color ink and I can keep track of what I have written. I tend to stick with black and burgundy inks for major writing, and edit with green. It’s just my thing.

And I’m forever oohing and ahhing over new fountain pens. I can see why people that love them, have several. Clearly I’m not satisfied with my three.

Well, my newish desire is the Monteverde Invincia Color Fusion Stealth, or just plain Stealth. I haven’t quite figured out the correct title. Either way, Stealth is well, sexy cool. I love what one of the reviewers at The Goulet Pen Company said about the pen.

“The Stealth is solid and subtle. Although, a black nib laying down a deep red line does make a clear statement.”

Stub nib for Monteverde pens

Ooh. Yeah.

I think that just sounds like what I would like to do when I pen letters to someone I know.  Writing sexy letters to sexy men with a sexy pen is, well, sexy.  I think I’ve just used that word three times too many. I’m digressing.

So, that is my pen of choice, with a stub nib, which you see right here —–>

The stub nib affords a more calligraphy style of writing. Slanted and just a bit more depth to one’s own style of writing. I would love to have this pen.  Or its sister pen which is also a Monteverde. The Monteverde Invincia Deluxe – Nighthawk.  Basically the Nighthawk is an even sexier pen, designed exclusively for The Goulet Pen Company.  I want this pen as well. It is ooh la la sexy.

The Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk via The Pen Cup

 

See  ——>

Don’t tell me you won’t ooh with that pen.  Just check it out. I promise you will drool over it as well. (the image was graciously allowed by The Pen Cup for me to post. Check out her blog by clicking the link.)

Downside to both of these pens, especially the Nighthawk, is price.  They are out of my price range as of the moment. So all I can do is drool. If some sexy man….. wanted to get me one….. I don’t even know if he is reading this…… One can HOPE he is…….but since he is a busy man…….I’m wishful thinking here…….

And along with pens comes ink. One must have ink for the pens to, well, uh, work.  I have my stash of Private Reserve inks. Burgundy Mist, Sherwood Green, Sepia, Velvet Black, and a bottle of Pelikan Red.  They are all lovely colors, though I am seriously annoyed that Sherwood Green and Velvet Black smear horribly. They are NOT color fast, especially if water is dripped on them.  I’m digressing again. Sorry.

Well, I found another new ink I love, though it’s color is similar to Burgundy Mist, and the price is steep.  Hey, if your pen is going to be expensive, might as well fill it with an expensive ink.

Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Budo ink. Hello gorgeous. Can’t quite remember how I ran across this ink… Oh wait, I saw it on this most amazing youtube video that is the most mesmerizing thing to watch. Calligraphy and all gorgeousness. If you love pens, nibs, and anything fountain pen related you need to watch this video.

Anyways, I won’t even try to describe the beauty of this ink. Just look at the pictures below

Okay, so clearly I’m obsessed a little bit. I’ve included way too many media items, but I can’t express my love of all things pen related right now.  I adore my three fountain pens and I was listening to myself write today. Oh the lovely scratch of a fountain pen.  A roller ball or gel pen will never be able to compete in the sounds of writing like a fountain pen does. Kind of like an old manual typewriter is way better sounding than a laptop keyboard.

Well, enjoy. I recommend checking out The Goulet Pen Company. A little pricy, but another one that has marvelous pens, all of mine coming from there, is His Nibs.  Wonderful to work with the seller too.

So check them out, and if you have a favorite pen, tell me about it. Or a gorgeous ink you have to have. I’d love to know.

Signing off

~Kate

How I Pick My Superbowl Team

Anyone that knows me knows I do not watch football.  Fortunately my father is not a football fan and he really could care less about the game at all.  In fact, any football that is watched in this household comes from either me or my sister that want to watch a game.  That being said, I do make concessions for the Superbowl.  I will watch that game and I have enjoyed a couple years where the plays were good.  Though, until yesterday, I hadn’t actually ever watched the whole game.  So, clearly, I am not a huge football fan.

And if I watch a game, I have to pick a side I’m going to cheer for.  It’s too confusing to cheer for both sides.

Here is my strategy.

Do I like the colors?  Yep, I’m superficial. I choose teams by colors. When I don’t like either of the colors of either team, I pick the least offensive colors.  Really scientific. Terribly girly.

Has the team won the Superbowl recently?  If one team playing won  most recently, I will not root for you. You have to be a team that hasn’t won in a while.

Do you have a good name?  I don’t like certain team names. Partly because of association. Just because my family is from the Bay Area does not mean I will ever root for the Raiders. Sorry, but they go against every bone in my body.

And are you the Cowboys?  Don’t judge, but that is my ‘official’ team when I pick a team to cheer for. Is it for any logical reason?  Nope. I just like the colors and the cheerleaders.

But I’m thinking of changing my team.  But I’ll come back to that.

Here is how I picked my team this year.  It was an iffy choice.  Seahawks because my mother is from Washington, her friend was cheering for them because she’s from Washington, and I like the colors.  My cons were Sherman, not that I had actually see what his comments were. I just knew there was a controversy.

Then the Broncos.  I used to live in Colorado, and come on, don’t you have to cheer for a Manning brother?  Isn’t it like a prerequisite to cheer for one of the Manning brothers?  Cons, I hate the colors. I hate the term bronco, and  I never liked John Elway.

Well, I ended up cheering for the Seahawks because their plays were so incredible and they seemed like a better team.  It wasn’t until halfway through that I found out they had never won the Superbowl. That sealed the deal.  They were the decided underdog. I now had my team.

It doesn’t hurt that this game was one of the best games I have ever seen. I was shocked at Peyton Manning because, isn’t he supposed to be like one of the best QB’s ever?  Well, I was quite impressed with Russell Wilson and I really enjoyed that game.

And I think I may have my new team. I never thought I would move on from the Cowboys…. Not that I like them, but I just couldn’t get behind any other team.  I think maybe I now have a reason. No, I’m still not going to watch any more games other than the Superbowl.  Or the Rose Bowl, like I did this year, but hey, it’s fun to have a team.

Signing off,

~Kate

Twenty-Six – Flash Fiction

early-morning-runTwenty-six. That’s how many songs were on his playlist.

Twenty-six. That’s how old he was, give or take a few months or days.

Twenty-six. That’s how many miles he was training to run. Miles he would run in a marathon that was taking place on his twenty seventh birthday.

He smoothed his hand over his freshly shaved head before putting in his earbuds, turning on his iPhone, and going to his playlist.

Morning, before the sun came up over the mountains, when the air was cool and fresh, was when he liked to run. His feet would pound the pavement in an ever repeating rhythm as he ran through the quiet streets of his neighborhood. Mini-vans and cars silent in their driveways. Sprinklers on their automatic timers watering emerald lawns and sidewalks, the excess running into gutters. It was a world of another world. The inside of a snowglobe before you shook it and all the snow or glitter sprinkled down. It was his and his alone. He could relish the peace of the moment as he ran, stepping into this world within a world. Forgetting for a moment his life that was waiting for him. Forgetting the uniform he put on every day. The uniform, where the minute he put it on, he became someone else and people regarded him differently.

He could forget his life as the music washed over him, as he repeated the same mantra over and over. Twenty-six. Twenty-sic. Breath in. Breath out. One more mile. One more moment of himself.

He turned the corner of his street and saw his young son sitting on the front step of his house. Gloria, the next door woman who watched his son when he went on a run, was drinking her coffee as she stood next to his boy.

“Daddy!” his son called and the world in glass faded away.

All that mattered was his son.

 

This was a prompt from  The Daily Post. Daily Prompt: Your Days are Numbered. The prompt being to use the number 26 as a role.  It’s funny how a post can start off one way then have a mind of it’s own and just go from there.  There was nothing specific when I started this other than twenty six sounded like a nice long playlist. Then I pictured a man running in the morning. Then the man had a shaved head.  And suddenly the whole story morphed to being for someone and about someone I know. This is just for him and he is going to get his own copy in the mail.  Hopefully he doesn’t read this on a regular basis because then the surprise is gone.

It always blows my mind how a story can come out of just one thought.  How plots and characters just grow into a story.  Well, this is for someone I would like to call a friend.  And for all of you to enjoy.

Signing off

~Kate

I Feel Like Sushi! – Flash Fiction

“I feel like sushi!” she announced as she looked up from her book.

He looked at her cautiously. “Is that a metaphor?” he asked warily. It was common for her to spit out strange metaphors at the oddest of moments.

Her laugh was like little bells.  “Heavens no! I want sushi.”

“Well that’s nigh impossible now,” he said, indicating the clock that read 1:30AM. “Plus, you really shouldn’t be eating that now,” he said, hinting at her very pregnant state.

“I know, but it sounds so good,” she sighed.

They went back to reading.

“How about tacos?” she blurted out.

“That we can do,” he said, smiling at her very strange switch of foods, but sliding out of the covers and slipping into his jeans, nonetheless. Ah, the things he suffered through to make his wife happy. But tacos sounded good to him too.

 

It’s amazing what kind of flash fiction you can get out of the back of a magazine with an ad for Siri. The first line is from that ad.  Enjoy.

Signing off

~Kate

The Captive Maiden – A Review

Let me preface this book review with a bit of commentary regarding fairy tales. Right now, anything dealing with a fairy tale is my thing. I blame Once Upon a Time for making me focus on that. I also blame Once Upon a Time for ruining fairy tales for me. I will never be able to read another fairy tale and not think of Snow White as being Emma Swan’s mother or Prince Charming being Emma’s father. Captain Hook will always be a sexy Irishman, and Rumpelstiltskin is this evil, but kind of cool villain.  So, all that being what it is, I had to choose a fairy tale story when it came up in the list of available books to request from Thomas Nelson/Booksneeze back in December. That also being said, I had to keep reminding myself that in all the classic fairy tales, Emma Swan is not best friends with all these heroines!

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson is a retelling of the classic Cinderella story.  Taking place in a province of Germany called Hagenheim in the early 15th century.  Duke Wilhelm rules and his son, Valten, Lord Hamlin is our ‘prince’ to Gisela’s ‘Cinderella’.

Gisela lives with her nasty stepmother and two stepsisters just outside Hagenheim.  By sheer luck, or the grace of God, she happens to meet Valten in the Marketplatz when he is disguised as a commoner, though she knows who he is.  He invites her to the jousting tournament that is to be held the next day.  Gisela comes to the tournament, despite her stepmother telling her she can’t go, and is crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty.  There she will remain, until the tournament is over, but not before dancing at the ball with Valten.

However, evil forces are at play, from the evil stepmother who sells Gisela to Ruexner, a knight who has a vendetta against Valten! Will she escape?  Not before being tricked, captured, rescued, captured, and rescued again!  There is so much action and suspense hiding among the pages of this story.  There are good friends and helpful monks who come to the rescue of both Gisela and Valten.  And Gisela is far from a damsel in distress, though she is a damsel, and at times, she is in distress. (thank you Megara from Hercules for having that tidbit always in my brain) Gisela can fend for herself!

Does it all turn out okay in the end.  Well I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but think. It is a Cinderella story.  Usually the maiden does get the ‘prince’.

The Captive Maiden is a nail biting book. I had to keep jumping ahead of myself to make sure it was going to turn out okay because I was so certain everything was going to go wrong. My heart was in my throat several times.  I’m not sure why I didn’t stop and remind myself that it’s a Cinderella story and of course it is going to turn out okay.  Melanie Dickerson may have written this for teens, but honestly I feel it it is for teens and up. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Valten is quite gallant and believable as a struggling young man that has to settle down and is finally ready to when he meets the girl of his ‘dreams’. Gisela is feminine and charming, but still a strong woman character. None of that weakling damsels in distress. I love the one line where Gisela says that maybe she will rescue Valten instead of him rescuing her! It’s reminiscent of Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. And Ruexner is a truly horrible villain next to the stepmother.

I like how Melanie Dickerson kept the religious aspect from getting too much in the way of the story like some authors are wont to do. The inner prayers of both Valten and Gisela are so believable since they sound like what I would say to God when I am struggling with something. One doesn’t have long conversations with Him when in the middle of something happening. It’s short prayers and little thoughts.  You can really feel the panic and frustration of Valten and Gisela. Also, the monk is quite believable and charming as a guide, giving wisdom and guidance to two struggling young people.

I think this was a charming book and I’m glad I could read and review it. I am now quite interested in reading Ms. Dickerson’s telling of Snow White in her book The Fairest Beauty.  I would give the Captive Maiden 4 out of 5 stars.

This book was provided for me from Thomas Nelson books free of charge for a fair and honest review.

Signing off

~Kate

Maybe He Had A Better Reason For Leaving – Flash Fiction

farmers-wife-magazine Maybe he had a better reason for leaving. Maybe it was the summer sun that first started the wanderlust. Whatever the reason, on day Janis watched him walk out of their front gate, not knowing when she would next see him.

He left no plans, no way to contact him; He only said he’d be back in the fall. Whatever that meant.

Janis watched him close the white picket gate, the one he had built last summer and walk towards town proper. She dried her hands on the dish towel she held, just shaking her 33-06,FrmrsWfhead.

“Silly man,” she muttered, smoothing down her apron. She wasn’t surprised he was leaving. Every couple of years he’d get this look in his eye and by the next day he’d have his knapsack packed. He’d go off finding adventure, though he never told Janis what he ended up doing on his treks. He could be gone a week or months. Once he was gone only two days, but another he was gone almost a year.

She didn’t know if he had another woman, she hated him if he did, but she doubted him fooling around. There were plenty of women around here who would have gladly taken him into their beds. No, the look in his eyes was not the lust for human flesh, but of fresh air, mountain peaks, and sandy beaches. Sometimes she would find bits and pieces of nature hiding down at the bottom o f his knapsack when he’d return. A small shell, a green rock, and once she found an old arrowhead.

For Janis the reprieve of married life was always a chance for a renewal of herself.  She slept in, not needing to make his breakfast. She enjoyed her poached eggs on toast without complaint. She tried new hairstyles and bought a new outfit or two. She would hire a couple of local girls and they would tear apart the house, cleaning it from top to bottom, then Janis would rearrange the furniture or paint a room. She’d have a gardener come in and give the whole yard a nice clean up, getting all the spots He never got to when he was at home. She’d splurge on a new rose bush or something exotic and fancy that would last only the summer season.

She’d invite her friends over for luncheons and teas. They’d gab about kids and husbands, though Janis never mentioned Him other than to say he was on sabbatical. They all knew what that meant. The ladies would discuss flower arrangement and wallpaper options. Painting versus staining re-purposed furniture. Then Janis would show off her new redone room and all the ladies would ooh and ah, commenting on how they wished their husbands would let them redo a room whenever they wanted to.

The friends would leave and Janis would clean up the house to a spotless state, fix a small meal and eat dinner watching one of her favorite movies. Something he wouldn’t like and try to talk over. She’s go to bed whenever she wanted, sometimes late, sometimes early. And every night till he came home, Janis would cry herself to sleep.

Who would have thought a short story or flash fiction piece could come out of a Harbrace College Handbook?  The first line and title of this piece was a line of correction under commas in my Harbrace. I was reading it the other day and this line caught my attention and I knew I had to write something. Not exactly sure if I have the commas in the correct spots (I’m a comma girl and I use way more than I ever should), but I’m happy with how this turned out. I have a fifties or sixties esque thought pattern in my head for Janis. Like she does her hair in the flip styles and wears big patterned dresses with bold flowers. Well, whatever she looks like, this was fun to write out the other day in a matter of moments on a piece of lined paper. Sometimes inspiration strikes from the funniest of places. And this story did not even come close to what I had in my mind, but hey, sometimes the character takes you places you never knew were hiding.

Signing off

~Kate