At the Tip of My Tongue

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/Comfreak-51581/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=794978">Jonny Lindner</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=794978">Pixabay</a>

As writers, we all understand the value of reading. It turns the wheels of our imagination and motivates the artist in us who has been trapped in a cubicle for eight hours to move into open air. Reading is the other joy of writing, the first one. I’ll be honest though, when it comes to putting my words on paper after reading a good book, I just can’t seem to do it. It’s like walking into a Baskin Robbins already knowing what flavor you want and when you get there, you can no longer decide with all the other temptations. When I close the book, I know what I wanted to write. When I open my own, it’s stuck somewhere between brain and my fingers.

I don’t know if this common with new writers or if this is something I will forever be fighting. Eventually, the words get where they should be. In the bad first draft, then the revision, the polishing, the editing and finally, something I have yet to experience, the perfection. I once read that someone else’s journey isn’t yours. I’ve read about novelists who do it perfectly the first time, not many, but they’re out there. Some who do lousy first drafts and then change it all during the second draft even to point of setting and gender being different. Sometimes in an effort just to keep the flow, I’ll write lousy words for good ideas and come back later.

I understand that we’re all unique, not just in our style, but in how we work too. Knowing that takes the pressure off of being perfect. Freedom to suck as a writer brings back the fun that made me want to do this in the first place. That, a good book and a strong cup of coffee, gives me the inspiration I need to keep writing.

Lox and Mouin

Trickster gods and vain creations. A wolverine named Lox and a bear named Mouin.

Step into my sauna said Lox to the bear. I can make you white as the great gull.

Mouin wanted it. In the hut of fire and stone, the bear weakened. Let me out, he cried. Lox was no fool. It was better to be trusted. You’ve begun to change, he said, pointing to the strip of white in the bear’s fur. You need more time. Mouin hesitated but stepped back in and waited, squirming and reeling. Let me out he said again. Lox ignored him. Moments later, the bear was dead.

In the afterlife where all creation meets again, Mouin asked why. You were too vain for your own good, said Lox. And they ate dinner together.

http://www.native-languages.org/maliseetstory2.htm

Beat That Self-Esteem Into Submission

 

27 March 27, 2019

In college, bonding moments as new writers always include the awkwardness of our prose, the lack of detail in our settings, the shallowness of our characters. In my courses so far, I’ve found I’m not alone in learning to build my character into a likeable person that someone else wants to read about, but I’m encouraged when I read someone else’s work and find they’re struggling equally with that same thing. But outside of the classroom, it’s different. Not because there aren’t new writers that are struggling with the same thing I am but because I’m not looking for them. I love to read the short conversations on Twitter from those that I follow and those who have been kind enough to follow me. But I’m a bit terrified that if I move beyond those short conversations, I’ll find I have no talent as a writer and whoever I read will have the same years I have, the same experience I have but they don’t suck, whereas I do.

I think as a writer, the one thing easier than all is to allow your lack of confidence to throw that brick wall in the way and make it look intimidating. How did that damn thing get there anyway? I have to remember, it’s an illusion, one that has no substance. I have to walk through that mirage of self-doubt and not look back. No one starts out a genius, even prodigies have to learn. I may be a late bloomer and maybe even a slow learner, but I made it to college, I know what to do at work and somehow I managed to become a grandmother. I’m not perfect, granted, but I have one thing under my belt I can take pride it. I’m no quitter. And I will get there.

Intervention

“What is it?” asked the Commander, Krim. His one eye observed the tiny human between his claw-like fingers.

“It’s called a politician, Sir,” said Ebluk. “The only earth comparison is a Baboon.”

Krim sniffed the creature. It stunk.

“Well, put it in a jar and let’s go. What intervention is recommended?”

“Ships computer recommends a female dominant species to take over. Lions perhaps.”

“Fine. Throw them in.”

Ebluk tapped the device. Five lionesses appeared in the large white structure. They returned to the ship. No one heard when the screaming stopped.   

Bio

 Ramona Rhein joined the Army out of high school and worked as a surgical tech for 35 years before deciding to pursue a writing career. She received her BA in English at 55 and is now pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing from SNHU. She loves to read as much as she loves creating lovable characters (heroes and gods) in make-believe worlds. She lives in the small town of Dacono, Colorado with three cats; Toothless, Pink and Willie, and a goldfish named Beastboy.

An Tale of Fear Retold

February 21, 2019

When it comes to spiders, I am as guilty as the next arachnophobic of discrimination. All I need to see is eight legs or dark fast movement and my first response is to either jump or step on it. Oddly, size does matter. If it’s larger than pea, I take my shoe off and elevate myself on the nearest chair or table. The thought of something large under my foot terrifies me. Like all prejudices, mine was established as a child. The oldest memory I have of a spider invading my world was when my family came home from a drive-in movie. It was a horror movie, so I was already scared. I turned on the light in my room to see something black on my pillow move quickly underneath it. I screamed and my father came and calmly killed it, but I sat on the other edge of the bed for the next hour, exhausted but terrified enough to wonder if he had a family somewhere close by. On another occasion, I noticed a white silk covered entity in the corner of my room. It looked like it was breathing. Terrified, I sprayed it with whatever cleaner was available and sucked it up with the vacuum. This is the way I have dealt with spiders most of my life, a fear and loathing of life I don’t understand.

I know I am not alone in this fear. Arachnophobia is one of the most common fears to modern man. What is it about them that paralyzes us? The speed at which they move or is it that it seems to be toward us. Is it the way they stop suddenly, like they’re plotting how and where to move up your leg? And yet when you look more closely, although just as frightening, there is something fascinating in their glass eyes, their patience and tenacity, the symmetrical beauty of their habitats.

Spiders have been the subject of world myths, both good and bad, for centuries. The ancient Greeks tell of Arachne, a master weaver who challenged the goddess, Athena, to a contest. In the end, Athena acknowledged Arachne’s talent but was angry at her arrogance and cursed her to become a spider. In parts of Africa, the tale is told of how the trickster god, Anansi, earned stories of wisdom from his father by capturing the world’s four most feared beasts. One story told was how a spider built a web so thick, it kept King Saul’s soldiers from searching the cave where David hid, thereby saving him. A variation of this same story is that the web saved the prophet Mohammed from his enemies. Probably my favorite story, though, is that of the Apaches. Apache mythology tells of how the world was formed by the Tarantula who pulled the cords of the four directions to create the earth. Life and creation are mysteries, so in a way that is uniquely mankind’s, telling stories that help us understand has gone on for centuries. The fear of spiders generated legends that give us respect for these creatures.

There are some wonderful facts about spiders that we don’t think about. For example, the silk of a spider gets its endurance from the locks of protein created in the process. It is not, contrary to legend, the toughest material on earth. It can, however, catch insects that are much larger than the spider who weaves it. And yes, just like that scene of the sewer in the movie Spiderman, it’s the vibrations of their webs that alert them that something has been caught. Female spiders do eat their mates after mating and although most spiders are not maternal, the wolf spider carries her young on her back until they are ready to leave. But some facts you might not have know are that spiders have blue blood from a chemical in their blood called hemocyanin. Another fact; spiders have several silk glands they use for different purposes in building their webs and they digest their food with stomach acids outside their bodies before sucking it in.

I confess as I looked these things up, even watched some videos, I still cringed and shivered. But having read the stories and seen the footage filmed by some brave soul, I have more respect than I did before. These eight-legged wonders have earned the respect of our ancestors enough to tell stories of their origin and of modern scientists enough to explore fascinating facts, then maybe it’s time for me to see them differently, too.

But if it’s all good with you, I’ll do it from a distance.

“8 of the weirdest facts we know about spiders.” Plunket’s Pest Control.  www.plunketts.net/blog/8-weirdest-spider-facts/.

“What is the spider silk made of and how can it be so strong to hold a spider?” UCSB ScienceLine. 15 March, 2001. scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=3239.

A Good Ghost Story Never Hurt Anyone

15 February 2019
Every writer needs a good jolt of imagination. I love an edge of your seat suspense novel as much as I love a sweet kiss between an awkward teenage protagonist and his finally won love. Although I write fantasy, I read everything, even the old classics. It’s the characters and the prose that draw me and keep me. And good micro fiction is as fun as a thick Stephen King novel.
I don’t know how other writers do it, but I tend to read more than one work at a time. It generally depends on my mood. Some days, I need to read anything that will scare me. It isn’t always at Halloween, but the expectation can be an influence. Last year I ordered a book of short ghost stories. New Ghost Stories III, from the Fiction Desk. Every so many weeks, when I’ve finished a good novel, a good short story keeps my blood flowing. This collection does exactly that. The authors are writers I’ve never heard of (I’m guessing some, if not all, are from the UK), but all of them have a talent for building suspense in a condensed work. The best thing about these stories is that none of them required the graphic violence that so many writers have thought it necessary to appease readers. They are simple, well written, ghost stories and although some of the endings are implied death, the charm of most of them is that they are frightening only in the imagination of the reader, not the detailed gore of the author.
This is an anthology I highly recommend, especially if you love being frightened occasionally. I’ve posted the address where you can get a copy below. The cost is about $13.00 in American dollars. I’m not sure if that includes shipping. I hope you all get a copy. It’s worth the reading.

https://www.thefictiondesk.com/anthologies/new-ghost-stories-iii.php