aurora borealis

The colors danced through the night,
Streaks of purple, blue, green, red,
They twisted and spiraled, flared and faded,
From horizon to horizon they cast their light,
Long after the stars went to bed.

If ever there was a selcouth sight,
These heavenly expressions in my head,
These playful colors surely are rated,
As they show off their marvelously strange might,
And show me the path I could have led.

For now I’m alone in my fright,
Lost in the shadows of words left unsaid,
From my future I’ve been gated,
No longer certain of wrong or right,
No longer certain if I’m alive or dead.

And still, those strangely marvelous lights dance on…

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

So gather ’round my friends for it’s time again for another Queen Creative:

forthepromptless, prompts for the promptless,
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Selcouth is an adjective that refers to the strangely marvelous and marvelously strange.

Suggested Prompts:

  • Tell us a story with a selcouth element to it.
  • Write a poem using the word selcouth.
  • Share a picture that means selcouth to you.
  • Introduce us to a selcouth person, concept, story, or song.
  • … or make up your own related prompt!

his mouth keeping score

His life was crazy,
No time to smell daisies,
His freedom was hazy,
Never was lazy.

Bound to chores galore,
With time he was at war,
Trying for that much more,
His mouth keeping score.

Stresses ruled the day,
And made his body pay,
The food piled on his tray,
Explode, he just may.

Only while eating,
Was joy more than fleeting,
Scarfing between meetings,
Esteem defeating.

Cake, pie, and cookies,
Steaks and other goodies,
No cure for the munchies,
Nothing was funny.

Around the cycle,
The viciousness viral,
Eating and stress spiral,
Failing health vital.

Eat to stave off stress,
Just adding to the mess,
His heart in full court press,
No way to do less.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Written in response to the latest Prompts for the Promptless from Queen Creative:

prompts for the promptless, kummerspeck, rarasaur, graysonqueen, queencreative
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

(German) Literally translates to “Grief bacon”, and refers to the excess weight gained through emotional over-eating.

Thanks to nettastrophe.wordpress.com for the idea!

Suggested Prompts:

  • Tell us about your go-to comfort foods.
  • Do emotions affect your eating habits? Share!
  • Explore the concept of over or under eating.
  • Write a story or poem where a character experiences this!
  • Share a picture that means Kummerspeck to you!
  • … or make up your own related prompt!

so very tempting

It had been a long day.  It had been a week of long days in fact.  And the prior week hadn’t been much better.  The hours had begun to blur together and Carl wasn’t even certain what day it was.

“Except, I’m headed to soccer practice for Benny, so it must be Wednesday.”

He flicked his eyes up to the rear view mirror and saw his youngest son happily singing along to one of his videos.  For Benny, happily singing was more akin to screaming at the top of his lungs.  The cacophony wasn’t helping the pulsing throb between Carl’s temples.  He considered asking Benny to sing quieter but didn’t want to risk a tantrum, or, worse, the ask daddy a thousand questions game.

Movement to Carl’s right made him flash his eyes back to the road in front of him.  A BMW was edging closer and closer to the dotted line that separated it from him minivan.  Expecting the worse, it had been that kind of week after all, Carl eased his foot off the gas just in time.  The BMW merged.  No blinker.  No space.  No clue how close the two vehicles had come to colliding.

Furious, Carl gave the drive a chance to wave in apology, to lift their hand and acknowledge they had made a mistake and they were sorry.  It was the etiquette of the road.  It was the proper thing to do.  The driver did nothing.  No wave.  They didn’t increase their speed and flee from shame and embarrassment.  They just came moving down the road with only inches between bumpers.

Carl sneered.  He seethed.  He cursed under his breath.  Jake was singing so loudly he probably could have screamed the curse and his son wouldn’t have heard it, but he’d gotten in trouble with the wife before for letting the kids overhear him say a few choice things and he wasn’t going to do that again.  Instead, in his mind, he fantasized about slamming his foot down on the gas pedal.

The van rushed forward, fusing with the rear of the BWM, driving it forward, and sending them both into a spiraling tangled mess of fiberglass and steel.  The carnage spread out across the lanes of traffic.  The two vehicles flipped and tumbled to eventually come to a rest as unrecognizable hulks of scrap.  Would serve them right.  Would release him from the misery of his long days.

Carl smiled.  His eyes burned with a fire of malice and desire.  His lips twisted to maniacal angles.

He tapped his brakes to create some more space between his minivan and the BMW.  His eyes flicked back to the rear view mirror to watch as Benny danced along with his song, as much as one can while strapped into a booster seat.  Carl’s eyes softened and the smile became genuine.

“Yep, these days are long, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

It’s that time again!  Time for another Queen Creative Prompts for the Promptless.  You know you want to play along too!  So, what are you waiting for?  Do it!  Here’s everything you need to know:

pftpep-s3ep2-lappelduvide
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

L’appel du vide is French and translates to “Call of the Void”.  It is the unexplainable urge to jump when standing on the edge of a cliff, or tall height.  It can be considered a form of self-destructive ideation, or a protective instinct to let the brain play out what the body should not.  It’s definition has been expanded to describe responding mentally to the call of the siren song– whether that means the desire to reach into a fire, drive into a wall, or walk into the eye of the storm.

Suggested Prompts:

  • Share your thoughts or pictures on l’appel du vide, siren songs, or jumping from heights
  • Consider whether or not it is healthy for the mind to play out these negative scenarios
  • Science doesn’t know why these thoughts flit through people’s minds– give us an explanation
  • Write a story where a character experiences l’appel du vide
  • … or make up your own related prompt!

living in the desert

The sun beat down, searing everything in its wake, baking the desert floor, and turning the sparse vegetation into wisps of brown, dried, weeds.  They weren’t tumbling.  They were crumbling.  The heat, boiling out of the parched sand, was oppressive.  It made his head, neck, and back ache.  It was as if the extra degrees of heat were weighing down the top half of his body.  Sweat poured out of every pore, ran down his face in rivers so swift and deep he couldn’t keep the stinging water out of his eyes no matter how frequently or effectively he wiped his brow.  The exposed flesh on his arms screamed from the relentless assaulting sun.  It felt like sandpaper was being dragged down his arms any time they brushed against anything else.  His eyes throbbed and he eventually had to close them to shield them from the intense light and warmth.  Behind his eyelids he could still make out the desolate landscape and the brilliant ball of light overhead.  He felt like he was in an oven, and the sun was the light someone had turned on to check the status of the things cooking within.  Put a fork in me, he thought, I’m done.

……..

The sun beat down, searing everything in its wake, baking the desert floor, and turning the sparse vegetation into wisps of brown, dried, weeds.  They weren’t tumbling.  They were crumbling.  The heat, boiling out of the parched sand, was up-lifting.  She felt like she could rise up on the thermals and sore over the badlands.  While she was sweating, it was a good cleansing sweat, clearing out her pores from the grime and gunk of city living.  She exalted in the feeling that she was ridding herself of the years of smog, smoke, exhaust and other contaminants that had built up on her skin, and she let the sweat freely pool and drip where it would.  The ground happily drank it up.  Her exposed arms turned upwards to the sky, soaking in the sunshine, the Vitamin D, the warmth, like a loving embrace that sunk well below the surface all the way to the core of her being.  There, in the desert, she was hugging the sun and it was hugging her back.  She closed her eyes and turned her face skyward to let the unobstructed warmth flood over her face and consume her senses.  She felt like she was on fire, with every single nerve firing and her entire body tingling with the sensation.  She felt more alive than she had in years.  Okay, she thought, this will do quite nicely.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Inspired by this NPR article and another wonderful prompt provided by Queen Creative:

qualia
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Qualia (single form, quale) is a term that refers to the individual, conscious, subjective elements of experiences. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky.  In other words, qualia refers to “the way things seem to us”.

More on Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia

breaking the norm

We take a lot of things for granted in our lives…  There are many things that are so mundane, so ingrained in who we are, what we do day to day, so familiar, that we don’t ever really spend any time thinking about them.

Sometimes when we dissect these common actions and items from our lives what we come up with can be completely mind boggling: our drive to work everyday, grocery shopping, etc…

On your daily commute back and forth to work, I’ve bet you wondered on more than one occasion, especially while stuck in traffic, where everyone else on the road with you is going?  But, let’s dive deeper.  Not only are they on the same road with you and the same time, they also have the same number of thoughts running through their mind, they had to at some point go to a gas station and put gas in their cars, and their cars were put together and shipped to a dealership by multiple people and multiple companies, and before then the idea of the car had to be thought of and developed and approved, and all that started with someone getting in a car and driving to work, and most likely, being stuck in traffic.  Perhaps they were stuck in traffic when they first came up with the idea for the car.  The point being, that every single other person on the road has their own lives to live, own concerns, joys, struggles, families, secrets, successes, and on and on.  Next time you are stuck in traffic look around you, when it is safe to do so, and actually try to contemplate each other drivers (and their passengers) story.  It will Blow.  Your.  Mind.

So, with that in mind, you can see where I’m going to go with grocery shopping, right?  You go to the store (in you car probably taking us back to what we just covered) and everything you could possibly want is there for you to buy.  But, that food didn’t just magically appear.  Think of how it got there?  Truck?  Freighter from halfway around the world?  How many hands have touched it?  How many machines has it been processed in and out of?  How many people went into the decision making process of making it show up in your store at that time and at that price?  Think of the money back trail and who all gets a cut of the 19 cents per banana you throw in your basket – the corporate minions, the growers, the drivers, the dock workers, the store managers, the stockers, …  Then look around you and try to take in every single item available for purchase in the section, the aisle, the store…  If your mind wasn’t blown before, it should be now.

Both of those examples are on a very human scale.  Let’s think about the rest of the world for a minute.  The tree in front of your house – How long has it being growing?  How many birds have made a nest in it?  How many other animals are dependent upon that tree to live?  On the limbs?  In the trunk?  Under the roots?  How many leaves does that tree produce every year?  What happens to those leaves when they brown and fall off every fall?  What about all the hidden processes that are going on to have that tree convert CO2 to Oxygen?  And that’s just one tree…  What about all the other trees?  What about all the bushes and flowers?  What about all the rocks, boulders, hills, mountains?  The rivers, lakes and oceans?

As humans we are often selfish, self centered, only really focusing on ourselves and those around us, and perhaps that is a self preservation mechanism, because if we were to every really stop, contemplate, and attempt to fathom everything else going on around us at any given moment we would be driven mad…  As an exercise, as a test of your sanity, try to truly think about the butterfly affect of your every action throughout a day, and everything that came before to make it possible for you to carry out those actions.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

I’m not sure if I will be successful or not, but this post was an attempt at ostranenie, an attempt to get my faithful readers out in the kingdom to experience a bit of defamiliarization, and was written in response to the newest addition of the wonderful Prompts for the Promptless series provided by Queen Creative:

pftpep-s2ep10-ostranenie

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ostranenie is a Russian word meaning, roughly, “defamiliarization”.  It is the artistic technique of encouraging audiences to see common things as strange, wild, or unfamiliar in order to enhance perception of the familiar.

More on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamiliarization

Suggested Prompts:

  • Tell us about something common. Make it wild, strange, or unfamiliar!
  • Show us a picture of something common, or several common somethings, from a perspective we don’t normally see.
  • Write a story of someone experiencing ostranenie.
  • Make a list of your favorite examples of defamiliarization in art!
  • … or make up your own related prompt!