Fish Sticks, Pirates and Me

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10 minutes. You and your keyboard (or smartphone. Or tablet. Or pen and paper). No pauses, no edits, no looking back: it’s free-write time!

When I was little I had two goals- I wanted to write, and become a Pirate.

On most days I saw no reason I couldn’t do both.

 I was eight at the time.

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Out of my two life goals the Pirate gig seemed to be doable and practical.

I could see myself sailing a ship, bossing around a crew of scurvy sea dogs and kicking heinie  in all of the Seven Seas and a few lakes and rivers to boot.

I didn’t care so much about finding treasure, but the idea of sneaking up on another Pirate ship in the middle of the night and stealing their flag and crew?

My little old heart would race with happiness thinking about what kind of things I could do as a Pirate.

I would go to church just so I could pray like crazy for God to please make me a Pirate.

Please God, I’d pray, I don’t want to be a stewardess or a waitress or a Mom. I want to be a pirate and sail a big black ship and have other Pirates be so scared of me and my crew that they’d all stay home and I would have the Ocean to myself.

And for some reason I had it in my head that I’d leave the Ferry Boats alone and probably fishing boats too.

Fishing boats because I used to love fish sticks and unless someone went out there and fished  I figured  I’d probably starve to death and as for the Ferry Boats? Well. Back in the day my family went to Victoria BC so I didn’t see any reason to give up on  my great family vacations  – so for sure the Ferry Boats wouldn’t have to worry about me or my wicked crew.

Nowadays there are times when I’m riding the bus home for work, or when I’m in line at the grocery store and I remember those days when anything seemed possible and I thought one day I’d be a Pirate.

And after a moment or two, I think…you know…anything is possible.

After all, I did manage to become a writer ( of sorts )

So anything is possible.

Anything at all.

Time Out

One-Way Street

Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

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If I could visit anytime, anywhere if I could leave right now I’d go into the future.

When I was a teenager I had a terrible nightmare that I woke up, covered with dust and the ground under me was solid rock and under the thin layer of gray dust it sparkled like it was covered with frost. I looked up and the sky was orange, and the sun was gigantic red and bloated. The moon was huge- it filled the sky.

The Moon hung in the East and the Sun was in the North.

I tried to scream myself awake when I realized I was in my own yard and the world was dead.

Dead and barren and airless.

And freezing cold.

Nothing was alive, not even me.

That was the future I dreamed about and to this day that image of a dead world and a dead Sun and the Moon, which was never alive was turning the wrong way.

I couldn’t tell you if  it was a million years in the future or a hundred years but to this day I wonder if that’s what the world will look like after everything is dead and gone.

So if I could time travel I’d want to go into the future. All the way to the end of time. And then I’d want to see what happens next.

Does everything start over? Or does it die and just stay dead forever?

I can’t see myself going into the past.

I know how that story goes.

But the Science Geek in me has would probably want to go to one minute before the Big Bang.

I’ve heard that it was truly a hellacious event.

Think about it.

It was quiet and dark and then all of a sudden the Universe is ripped apart and it’s guts fell out and  ta da!

Here we are.

But that minute before. Sure. I’d like to see that.

Not a minute after.

One minute before.

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I’ve worked with the dead, with loss and grief.

To me the past is a freshly dug and filled grave. I’d no more visit the past then I would take a shovel and dig up a coffin and pop it open.

But the future, all that uncharted territory, the not knowing what’s going to happen next. The surprises. The dreams that were realized ( good and bad ).  I figure sneaking a peek at the future is a lot like sneaking a peek at your Christmas presents- sure you know what you’re going to get on the BIG DAY.

But you still have to wait for the BIG DAY to get your hands on the presents.

The upshot is, I’d rather hope then go to a place where there is hope. To me the past doesn’t offer that.

The future is bursting with it.

And that’s where I’d like to go.

Once Upon A Time

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Fictional Intruder

Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Finn… If you could choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?

Oh where to start.

Where to Start.

If I could choose three fictional events to participate in I would:

Want to be  with Father Merrin in the Exorcist when he is standing in the desert in Iraq and he’s looking at the statue of Pazuzu and he knows that dark days are ahead.

I’d have loved to have been there with Scrooge in the graveyard when he sees his name on the tombstone  and

I’d really have liked to have taken that carriage ride with Johnathan Harker to Dracula’s Castle in the Carpathian Mountains.

I’m going to be honest here.

I would want to be that Statue of Pazuzu and have been able to have looked into Father Merrin’s eyes…I would have invited him to run, but of course I would have hoped he wouldn’t

and I’d like to have been the Ghost who took Scrooge to the cemetery to see his lonely grave and I would have told him to relax. All graves are lonely and eventually they are all forgotten

and I’d have liked to have taken those reigns and taken Harker on the ride of his life through the Carpathian Mountains. By the time I was done he would have  walked all the way back to England and Dracula would have been a different book all together.

Those are just moments in a story but I’ve been there over and over again and those moments feel like a lifetime.

There’s No Place Like ( A Funeral ) Home

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Our weekly free-write is back: take ten minutes — no pauses! — to write about anything, unfiltered and unedited. You can then publish the post as-is, or edit a bit first — your call.

 

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When I worked at a funeral home, my view on the death penalty changed

It changed the day I walked in and we were back logged and every cot and table were full. I saw all those dead people and thought:

” Why would anyone create one of those on purpose? Nature seems to do well enough on its own.”

People commit suicide in cemeteries. I’m not sure what their reasons are but this is how I felt about the Funeral Home in general.

The living  just visit there- to me it felt like a reception area to the next world, but in the end we didn’t belong there. No way would I want that to be the last place I saw before I go one to  meet my maker.

I always felt sad when I heard those stories, because cemeteries are lonesome places. Terribly beautiful but sad.

I used to eat a lot of Pez after I embalmed a body.

I still haven’t figured that one out.

Strange as it may sound, I did have a fun day at work now and then. Like the time I had to go do a removal at a retirement center.

It was a huge industrial looking place- and as we do in most places we go through the back door.

This time there were two old guys sitting there in lawn chairs when I came out with the deceased.

They reminded me of crows- at first.

” Hey.” said one old guy, ” he was my friend.”

“Was he?” I asked, sensing that these two guys would not appreciate polite banter. So I stopped for a little chat.  ” How long did you know each other?”

” Long enough to know ” his friend sitting next to him said slapping his knee ” that this is the only time in his life he was taken out by a beautiful woman”

” Oh come on now. “

” Look, promise me this when I go come and get me. Or if you got a good looking friend at work send her. But no matter who it is, wear that dress.”

I didn’t laugh…I roared with laughter. ” Hey. There’s laws about harassing women like this you Wolves you.”

” Yea. Sure. Whatever sweetheart. I was an attorney and he was a cop and our friend there did time for robbery in his young day. You’re surrounded by them.

I considered this. ” Ok. But you should know that nobody can hit an artery faster then me.”

” Marry me . ” said my talkative friend. ” Marry me now.”

I used to visit a grave in the children’s cemetery that we called Babyland. My baby cousin is buried there. He died from SIDS back in the late 60’s.

A row down from him is the grave of a baby who died on the year and the same day I was born. For each holiday that rolled around someone came out and put out seasonal directions.

I wonder if I would have ever met him had he lived.

Remember the Tall Man from the Phantasm movies? Angus Srimm? I had a picture of him and Anubis on my desk. And wind up lady bug toy that was the size of a quarter.

I used to find my pictures on different places on my desk because people would pick them up to look at them.

But they never touched that lady bug.

GPS THIS!

Back to Life

After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?

 

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 Just before I turned 49 one of my cousins died, my Dad died, both of my dogs died and  for the first time since I began writing at age 9 I honestly could not write a word because the inspiration, the joy of it all was just gone.

Losing my ability to write was the hardest thing that happened that year, it was hard because I had always seen myself as being the person who wrote.

So with my identity in the crapper and on it’s way to wherever raw sewage gets sent ( oh sure…it ALL gets sent to a treatment plant I am SURE) my entire life came to a screeching halt.

I felt less then human on so many levels.

The first thing I tried to get back was my Writing Mojo.

Do you know the world is full of advice on how to do that? They write books about it, you can go to lectures about it, ” All you have to do, ” I was told over and over again ” is just sit down and write.”

” Oh really? ” I remember thinking. ” Wow. That’s SO obvious. Why the heck didn’t I think of that?”

Well of course it wasn’t that easy.

Most of the time I wrote snarky obituaries for people who thought it was so simple, all I had to do was just ‘sit down and write’. You know what I wanted to do? Tell them I took their advice and show them what I was writing. I remember thinking I’d lose some friends but there would be a few less red wagons in need of fixing out there in the big bad world.

So in the end, as it often is often the case, I found my own way,  sat down and started to write again.

I didn’t read advice books, I didn’t go to a meetup and talk to other writers about not being able to write.

One day I sat down here at my blog and started to read my stories.

The older stories were the first stories I wrote- and I left them as is because over the years I thought it would be cool to see how I grew as writer. I’d do a lot of them different, but why mess with the work of a writer who worked that hard? As it was, I loved those. I’m proud of them. Even if they are far from perfect.

 And then I got to the more recent ones and I couldn’t believe they were mine.

It made me want to write again so I picked up on these daily posts at WordPress. I looks forward to doing one ( or two ) a day.

Of course I don’t think I’m doing them exactly right, but what’s the worst that can happen? I can’t get fired for not following the rules and nobody is going to die over it.

 My responses are what they are.

In  the end I felt human again, like Anita Marie the writer again because I went back and found myself lost there in the weeds and ruins- and there in that mess was my writer’s voice just waiting for me.

I think I was lucky this time.

May we never part ways again.

And Nothing But The Truth

Truth Serum

You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?

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You know that saying, ” It’s funny because it’s true?” I like the truth when it comes at me like that.

I hate it when people use the truth like a mallet and bash your brains out with it and then say…”I’m only telling you the truth because I care.”

Oh really.

Anyway.

I’d use my little vial of truth serum on one of those people ( and we all know a few of them, don’t we?) and I’m sorry but I’d skip the asking part. I’d dose them and turn them loose in let’s say, I don’t know where is the last place anyone wants to hear the truth?

Oh got it.

At a funeral.

Second to that, weddings.

Funerals and Wedding are planned, they are arranged and we know how to behave and what the steps in the process of each are. We even know what we’re suppose to wear and what to say when we talk to each other.

Do you know what happens when you don’t observe the ritual as agreed upon?

You not only get voted off the island, you get sent to another island where you are buried up to your neck in the sand, your face is smeared with honey and then you are covered with ants and bees.

Nobody wants to know ‘the truth’ at these events and much in the way of reality tv I don’t expect to hear it there either.

So using this truth serum would be like lighting the fuse on a bottle rocket.

You know, you stick the bottle rocket in a bottle ( or a beer can ) then you light the fuse and wonder- is it going to go up or just blow up there on the ground and in your face?

It would be fun just like that.

Yes.

Without a doubt.

That’s what I would do- and that’s the truth.

 

 

HELP!!!!! Wanted

Ready, Set, Done

Our free-write is back by popular demand: today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less

 

I was reading one of those articles that they aim at people who are either just choosing a career path or maybe they’re looking to go on a new one.

My day job is great- there isn’t a lot of money involved, but I like the company, my co-workers awesome  and  and I like what I do.

At night I write.

Life is good.

But that article made me think outside the box. The thing of it is when I think outside the box I end up far afield. I might not learn a lot and I’m sure I’m not using the information provided as it was intended but at least I can say I enjoyed the heck of the article.

So here it is, if I could chose a dream job- if I could be anything in the world…get ready for it…

I’d be the Headless Horseman

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 I’m not particularly enchanted with the idea of getting my head cut off, but in the  past I’ve worked at jobs that broke my spirit and made me feel small and stupid so how does a little decapitation compare to that?

 Exactly.

It doesn’t.

In addition I like to be out at night- the darker the better, cold enough to rattle your bones? I’m good with it. Big plus here-  I’d get to ride a wicked horse and that takes me right back to the days when I rode motorcycles – wow- be still my heart- I’d probably get to wear leather again too.

 And of course the fun part- chasing people around who like to tempt fate and pooh-pooh what they don’t understand,

I tempt fate now and then, but I don’t wait for it to turn it’s back and then sucker punch it in the back of the head. People who act like that manage to hurt everyone around them so I think it wouldn’t hurt them to get chased across a bridge on a dark, foggy night by a demonic horse and someone who really and truly loves her job.

And as for the Pooh-Poohers?

They’re the  one’s who think they know it all because they are so enlightend of heart and intellect that they can tell themselves in all honesty that  they’re not ramming their view point down your throat because they’re actually the most vicious and intolerant human beings to walk the face of the earth and are only listening  to you talk long enough so yes…they can pooh pooh what you say..

I’d like to introduce you to my not so little friend who was created to chop off limbs and is not known for making  surgical style incisions.

Of course I’m sure there are great benefits like-

I am sure you get to travel or maybe fill in for other Headless Horseman on other Bridges or Roads. Or maybe you get to chose. That would be great.

Halloween must be awesome. I’ll bet you could arrange a take your kid to work day. Of course my kids are grown up but I do have a few cats who would probably love the ride along experience because who wouldn’t?

You get to set your own hours. From what I understand the Headless Horseman pretty much show up when they want to. Awesome.

I’ll bet the Headless Horseman get to meet some cool monsters like Werewolves and Mummies and Ghosts. My guess is that they hang out in cemeteries which is fine with me because I actually used to work in one.

Indeed.

This could be the perfect job for me.

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I’ve heard a bunch of different legends for how The Headless Horseman came to be.

But.

I think  ( at least I hope ) that somewhere there’s a piece of paper nailed to an old tree and written in dark brown ink ( because that’s what happens to blood when it turns old ) that says:

Do you have dedication, skill, flexability and determination to complete  your task at hand? Are you a self starter and self motivated?

Do you like horses and  are you willing to work late hours?

Then wait here.

We’ll be along shortly.