After 32 years of teaching high school English, I've started writing again and loving every minute of it. I enjoy bringing ideas to life and the concept of leaving behind a legacy.
Jimmy Buffet wrote, “Mother, Mother Ocean/I have heard your call.” Well, I’ve finally been asked, “Why do you always end up at the beach? Your Facebook posts are all on the sand.” I’ve tried to resist saying, “Why not?” and instead, I’ll attempt to explain why “moonlit walks along the beach” is not just a cliché in my world.
There were many stories about the Liberty Theater in the center of small town. Closed for decades, it remained standing, its ornate frontispiece a state landmark. The other stores and pubs on the street were streamlined and modern, and the theater seemed out of place and time. The lights if the building remained on, a nod to an old superstition about always keeping a light on in the theater so ghosts can conduct their own plays. Actors were one of the most superstitious groups. The only other groups as superstitious were mariners and athletes.
The Black Cat
Each year thousands of black cats languish in animal shelters because of the bad luck with which they’re associated. For centuries, witches having black cats had become fodder for stories and movies. In fact, many shelters ban the adoption of black cats in October because cats become targets for abuse and worse. Jennifer had always wanted a black cat and feared she’d be alone again this Halloween. She grew up with animals - dogs, cats, birds – but living on her own, having a pet was expensive.
Lily walked confidently up the sidewalk, her resume in hand after searching for weeks for a job. She knew the CEO of the company from her college networking, and it was an easy short-term job for the Halloween season; this might give her the possibility of working permanently. Dressing the window with holiday décor to lure shoppers would be fun and give her an outlet for her creative energy.
Day of the Dandelion
A little girl, running through a field, unchaperoned and free, felt the soft sun on her face, and the fresh air catch her up in a swirl. Her loose smock dress with cabbage roses and lilies, and wild unkempt hair flew around her, joining with the nature around her. Wildflowers and weeds around her, she tiptoed and pirouetted through the open field. For a short cage of time, she was allowed to play outside, barefoot, feeling the dirt and the weeds under her toes. She spun around and then fell, tired and dizzy from her personal merry-go-round. It was such a change from school and being in the house doing homework the rest of the time.
Faces of Future
The screens flashed at midnight as they sat in the dimmed room. “Happy New Year!” The girls of Iota Delta Iota Omicron Tau raised their glasses of sparkling cider as they celebrated the arrival of 2069. Banti77, 4Donna4, and Kar3n stayed in a room at their sacred sorority house on the campus of The University of Mid Southwest Coastal Florida. As part of this sisterhood, they shared holidays and many conversations about the past and the future.
Rebuilding the Earth
“I’ve done so much and so little at the same time,” Paul said to his son Gordon. “I’ve been respected and vilified, praised and maligned.” He swirled the lemon in his tea. “I’m stuck in this gray area. I’ve made billions, but my charity work isn’t enough.”
Macaws and Marmosets
This was the first day on her new job as an intern for a conservation crew. Carrie first noticed something unusual when the poachers were arrested in their high-rise mansion in San Diego. They left behind horns, rugs, bad examples of taxidermy, and trophy heads mounted on the walls. Once the poachers were arrested, the contents of their trade went into evidence. Carrie wondered: what happens if something is still alive?
The Lake of the Innocents
Headmaster Percy Blackburn took his spectacles off and polished them with a cotton handkerchief. He repeated this habit often, which signaled to the girls of the Chiller’s School for Young Women he was agitated, upset over a perceived transgression from one of his charges. Euphemia Wood, his assistant, would immediately fetch him a glass of absinthe in response. It was a habit that repeated itself often.
It's Spooky Time Once Again
A spooky playlist for Halloween? Do you mean the one I listen to every other week just because I want to see the reaction of those willing to let me drive them places? The one I listen to in the car when I’m by myself, windows down, July? This challenge is right up my alley. Of the 60 or so stories and poems I’ve written and submitted to Vocal so far, I’ve touched on a cemetery setting twice, end-of-life scenarios four times, the underworld three times, a requiem, a conversation with a ghost, a review of a haunted amusement park, and my own eulogy. A prevailing theme permeates much of what I like to write. A playlist to go with the normal dark side of me as well as the Spooky Time decorations I put up weeks ago already? Yes. Very yes.