Running Girl: Ch. 6, “The Next Morning” (excerpt)


2107870_max
What’s happened so far:
Ted’s old love, Miriam, is on the run from some seriously bad people and fears she’s been betrayed, as well. She has no where to turn. She decides she can only find Ted and throw herself on his mercy, knowing he probably won’t be happy to see her, given that she abandoned him and ran away without a word. She’s run across the country by train and car, appearing across the street from the old mansion he’s restoring in the middle of a epochal thunderstorm. While deciding whether to knock on his door, having multiple second thoughts about doing this, she’s knocked down by a nearby lightening strike and nearly drowned by the heaviest rain she’s ever experienced. With her last bit of strength, half conscious, she staggers up onto his porch and pounds on his door. He doesn’t recognize her at first, but then does. 

She looked like a body that had been dragged along the bottom of a river, hitting sunken debris along the way and had been thrown up onto the porch and then groomed with a blowtorch. Her hair was plastered to her head and the face— which had an angry bruise on her forehead and the right side — was shockingly unrecognizable in the reflection from the glass of the front door. Water collected at her feet and she shook with tremors of shock and cold. She felt light-headed and sick at her stomach. A pool of red, blood diluted by rainwater, was growing at her feet. 

After staring at her for what felt like hours—but was only a couple of seconds—his expression changed. He focused on her eyes, and his  narrowed. Then, his face shifted from confusion to shock when he realized who it was standing there. His mouth opened and closed like a fish’s. He opened the door, but still couldn’t speak. 

Hi, T-t-ted,” Miriam said through chattering teeth, feeling her legs start to wobble. It sounded like someone else was talking. No food and not much sleep for nearly three days, and now electrocution, shock and hypothermia. She had the odd sensation of floating up near the porch light, watching herself and Ted facing one another. She looked half-dead, and her spirit had almost left her body, in fact. Her knees buckled and her eyes rolled back as she fell forward. 

Just before she blacked out, she felt his arms catch her and inhaled the familiar smell of him. The vague ache she’d felt for many months escaped her like an exhalation of stale air held inside for far too long. “Oh, God….” She heard someone say in her voice from far away.

She felt arms catch her, hold her up. Then everything went dark. 

 


 

4-woman-sleeping-bed-636

 

Sunlight wormed itself through a gap in wooden shutters and crept across the floor until it found Miriam’s face. Like warm fingers, it traced the outlines of cheek and jaw, caressed the bruised face and lit the fine hairs on her cheek. A light breeze ruffled sheer lace curtains with edges embroidered in silk, and gradually nudged the shutters open. More sun brightened the room, and the spring aromas of warming earth and flowers began to fill the room.

The woman with many names and many secrets lay on her back under a fluffy white down comforter in a large, iron-framed Victorian bed with the head against a wall, in a corner room. On either side were two windows facing the morning sun. A third window in a wall to her left faced west, shade-dappled by a giant maple tree. All had two sets of shutters, top and bottom, all but one were closed. The latch on that one had not been secured tightly and it was through a slowly widening crack that the the sun and spring air pushed in and insistently pulled her from the darkness.

She stirred, images  of herself floating up from the depths of a well toward a small circle of light above running through her awakening consciousness like fragments of an old movie. She delayed opening her eyes, her mind momentarily free of thought in that moment suspended between one world and the next. The warmth of the sun on her bruised skin was welcome and healing, and she savored it, content to pause and let her senses return.

Like an engine that had been flooded, her mind turned hesitantly and with effort. It was still muzzy and fitful, too rebellious to focus on any one thing at first. But as the moments passed, it gained strength and she pushed through the last of the water in the well and came back to herself, and knew she was safe.

As she had done as a child waking on a lazy Saturday morning in her mother’s house the kibbutz in the lower Gallilee, she played the waking game, kept her eyes closed and explored with her skin and nose and ears. Flowers bloomed there, too.

She was warm, that registered first. She was covered in something soft and light. She heard birdsong washing in through the window, and sniffed the clean scent of spring. Her ears strained to hear beyond the twittering chorus, and heard a car’s engine and the swish of tires on a street that wasn’t too far away, to her left. A bell in a nearby church sounded nine times. She didn’t consciously count the strikes, but as usual, some part of her brain just took care of that and reported it to her. This filled her with relief; perhaps she would be OK after all.

tedHouse
Ted’s Salvage Project and Money Pit

Her body began to remind her of less pleasant things: a dull ache from her forehead and the side of her head brought back the desperate struggles days before in Henry’s house, 3,000 miles away. The skin on her forehead also felt tight and hot, like a burn. Her right hip and thigh ached. She felt the lump over her eye, wincing at the pain that conjured up. She ran fingers lightly over her temple and felt the swelling and the harsh stubble of scorched hair. Her head was splitting; she remembered the lighting strike. A slight tingle and numbness in her fingertips made her rub them together, and sharp stabs of pain from two fingers told her of damage there.

After cataloguing the injuries, she pushed them away and opened her eyes. She saw a large room with tall windows, wood trim and a pleasant feeling. Turning her head to both sides hurt, but she took in the dimensions of the room. A big wooden door, closed, was directly opposite the foot of the bed. She sensed, rather than saw, the windows behind her. The shuttered window to her left let through the moving shadows of leaves from a large tree. There was a wingback chair and ottoman by the bed on her right, and a wooden antique dresser with a marble top and beveled mirror in a tall frame sat beside the door. The room was probably 15 or 20 feet on a side, and had the look and smell of being recently repainted, or remodeled. Everything looked too smooth and fresh to be as old as the house looked from the outside.

Miriam —that was her actual name, she reminded herself—tried to sit up but the heavy bruise to her hip and thigh had stiffened. She remembered the confusing last few hours in the rain and dark. A fragment of memory of herself at Ted’s door. A shaky image of a drowned and burned woman distorted in beveled glass. An old woman patting her cheek. A train ride. A long drive to get here. Hiding in a closet. A beating. It was all mixed up and confusing.

With a second effort, and grunting against the pain, she pushed herself up to a sitting position. She lifted the white comforter to see that she wore men’s pajamas. Lifting her hips, she slipped the elastic waistband down and saw a wrap around her thigh, the edges of a  purple and red bruise peeking out from the edges. Higher up, another bruise from the corner of Henry’s counter top remained, but was darker and hurt less. Still, everything hurt, even her hair. She closed her eyes again, moaned and slumped back against the carved wooden headboard, the comforter falling down to her waist.

Alarmed, she pulled it up under her chin wondering if anyone else was there, watching.

She was alone and relaxed, but her eyes fell on the chair next and saw jeans, a sweatshirt, sandals, a bra and some lacy underwear laid out there, apparently for her. With one last suspicious glance around, she slid legs out from under the covers, dropped her feet gingerly to the carpet, limped to the chair and dressed. The things didn’t fit too badly, which made her absently wonder who had picked them out and put them there—and who had undressed her, washed her, dressed her wounds, and put her to bed. She was grateful, in any case.

She limped over to a closet door and peeked in. Nope, no women’s clothes in there, and there was nothing feminine on the dresser. It had the feeling of a guest room, then.

She walked slowly—testing her muscles, wincing at each step—to the western window, unlatched the shutter and looked out. It was one of those exquisite mornings in early spring where the air is soft and shares your relief that winter is finally over. The storm had gone, leaving a scene bright and washed clean like a morning at the beginning of the world. The sun blazed down on flowers bobbing in the breeze around foundations of houses across the street, and the whole scene looked so wholesome she couldn’t take it all in after what she’d been through. She closed her eyes again and leaned on the window sill, breathing deep the clear air and scents of blooms. There was a lilac somewhere near sending its fragrance up on on currents of air.

Turning, she stretched out her stride to loosen up her stiffness more,  and made it to the door in seven slow steps. The door, solid, substantial oak like the rest of the room’s wide trim, sported old-style brass hinges and a doorknob with an elaborate filigree pattern pressed into it. She listened at the door for a moment. Hearing nothing but with habitual caution, she opened the door a few inches and saw a wide hallway with doors— to other bedrooms?—  another hallway to her right, at right angles to the one she was examining. In the same direction was a set of stairs leading to the floor above. At her end of the hallway, opposite the door, a wide staircase lead down.

This place must go on in all sorts of directions, she mused, intrigued. There was no one in sight, but she smelled coffee—her drug of choice— bacon and other incredible kitchen smells. Her stomach lurched and rumbled, reminding her that she hadn’t eaten for a long time.

Time to go downstairs. After all, she mused, blushing a little at the thought, it was probably Ted who cleaned her up, bound her wounds and put her to bed last night. He’d gotten to meet her then, in a manner of speaking. The thought was not entirely unpleasant.

She walked toward the stairs that lead toward the smells of breakfast, taking in the details. Her near-photographic memory was both a natural gift and part of her training. Very little escaped notice and was filed away automatically. A part of her brain noted details, such as a paint can left in the hall corner, a look of recently finished walls and floors, new oriental carpet runners in every direction–and she could smell fresh paint and plaster. She could tell that this had been a major restoration. There were plaster walls, oak trim everywhere, and a marquetry floor with two or three kinds of wood. The Ted she remembered could never have decorated this on his own, so he had either hired someone pretty good, or there was another woman in the picture.

To her surprise, the latter thought sent a mini-tremor of jealousy through her. She shook her head.

“Hardly have a right to be jealous, do you?” she scolded herself under her breath. “None of your business now.” She clamped down on the emotions that had stirred and started down the stairs, her lips set in a thin line. “We’ll see what’s what, first.” Little red spots remained on her cheeks.

The plush pile of the carpet runner down the center of the stairway silenced her footfalls. She moved deliberately, holding onto the railing next to the wall, unable to reach across the width of the stairs to touch the other railing. It was a long way down—13 steps, she noted automatically. At a glance, she logged the number of spindles in the railing—26—and that one halfway down was slightly turned. She corrected that to match all the others on her way past.

The enticing aroma of coffee got stronger by the time she reached the bottom, but the stiffness in her legs made it slow going. By the time she neared the bottom, though, she was moving more purposefully. She paused on the last step to look around and listen, sniffing the air, then stepped down onto a matching area carpet on more fine wood flooring. Normally unimpressed with wealth, she was becoming aware that this place, while old, had “good bones,” as her father would have said. The place exuded 19th Century quality without shouting about it.

She stood for a moment at the bottom of the steps where a long central hallway widened as it stretched to the right and left. She took a few steps to the right and passed a large room with pocket doors partially opened, and then another larger room in the front of the house. A short hallway led to an outside door on the right. On the left were doors closed on spaces she couldn’t guess the uses of, and then another front room, this one obviously appointed as a library with floor-to-ceiling bookcases and a fireplace with an elaborate carved black marble mantle. Wingback chairs flanked the fireplace, each with a round side table of oak in an older style. A built-in window seat stretched across the front, with more bookshelves built in underneath.

To the left, at the end of the room that would easily hold two of her last apartment, was another set of nine-foot-tall pocket doors. She stepped over to the center and moved them apart with surprisingly small effort, as they were probably 300 pounds of thick old wood each. But the balance was so good that they slid apart easily. She stepped through into a dining room. An antique table of highly polished dark wood stretched half of the length of the room, with ten high-back chairs of matching color and style tucked neatly all around, four on each side and one at each end. A matching sideboard sat in the back corner, and another marble fireplace, slightly smaller that the one in the front room and faced with white, veined marble and bright brass andirons, sat in the middle of the outside wall, flanked by a pair of eight-foot-tall bay windows. Even with no lights burning, the room was ablaze with sunlight.

Stepping to a side door, she opened it and found herself back in the hallway, near the stairs she’d descended a few moments before. She heard the clatter of dishes down the hall to the right, and saw someone move across a doorway.

She took a deep breath and moved toward the sounds and the smell of coffee and food. The coffee would help with the headache and she couldn’t resist the allure of the aroma any longer.

At the threshold, she stopped again and watched Ted’s back as he worked on something at the stove. A kitchen table to the right was set for two, and more sunlight was bursting into the room from another big bay window beside it. A lanky chocolate Lab had caught her scent already, and raised his head and was watching her from his spot under the table. He unfolded himself from the floor and ambled over, tail wagging like he’d known her all his life.

She scratched behind his ears and looked up, realizing Ted hadn’t heard anything yet over the music of a radio he had on.

He looked different around the edges, but the same at the center: A little thinner, perhaps, but with some grey at the temples that hadn’t been there a year ago. The hair was shorter. He was humming along tunelessly like she remembered, something that sounded like a mixture of an old Stones tune and a little Count Basie, and completely unrelated to the song that was playing. She smiled. Typical. He wore a short-sleeved yellow polo shirt and khaki slacks, well-worn moccasins and no socks.

His arms were tanned and looked better muscled than she remembered, as did the shoulders that looked broader and solid under the shirt’s fabric. The back of his neck was ruddy from the sun. Overall, he was in better shape and had lost the flabby, disheveled, half-crazed look of his life in New York. There, he’d lived mainly on adrenaline, beer, coffee, cold pizza and vending machine food and more beer. Whatever else had happened, moving here seemed to have been good for him. She approved.

A bright red cardinal landed on a branch of a small tree just outside the window, looked sharply around a few times with a combative manner, and sounded the penetrating clear call notes that warned any competitors that he was master of this territory now.

She heard the powerful song from outside and watched him, comb flashing angrily, and felt the pride and challenge of his brash music of survival go through her. She did not realize Ted had turned at the cardinal’s call, as well, and had caught sight of her from the corner of his eye. He put a skillet down and turned the gas flame off. He switched off the radio and turned and stood, waiting. His face was not unfriendly, but impassive.

She turned her head as the music stopped and looked into his eyes for the first time in more than a year. She opened her mouth once, then closed it.

The silence stretched.

“Hungry?,” he said, turning back to the stove.

All she could do was nod once, suddenly shy and tongue-tied, then realized he couldn’t see her. The lab bumped her hand with his head, wanting her to pet him some more. When she didn’t, he sniffed her fingertips and touched them with just the tip of his tongue.

Ted pointed to the table with his hand and arm outstretched, without turning. “Why don’t you sit down. I’ll get things together. And—“ He paused, turning from the waist up and looking at her a long second “— we’ll eat.”

As he dialed up the gas flame under the skillet, he started whistling that tuneless tune again.

She nodded to his back, felt foolish, then walked over to the table and sat at the  end so she could watch him. The dog escorted her, side pressed against her legs slightly.

Ted put eggs and bacon on a platter, poured juice and two coffees, put it all on a big tray and carried it to the table. He put a glass of orange juice in front of her and the platter in the middle of the table. Abandoning any pretense or etiquette in sudden, ravenous hunger, she pulled the empty plate in front of her, grabbed the platter and scooped eggs and meat onto it, then slices of toast while he poured her coffee. He moved to the other end of the table and pulled the platter to his side and helped himself. He put the pot of coffee halfway between them.

Miriam made the food disappear with efficiency. He watched in fascination as so much food went into such a small person so quickly. She ate one helping without looking at him, chewing. He pushed the platter back to her and she loaded her plate up again. She drank the juice and coffee gratefully, then poured another of each. Ted ate without a word passing between them, finished and sat back, sipped coffee and looked out the window while she ate. His thoughts were tripping over themselves.

He had seen her the night before, of course, but she looked more like the accident victim she was than the remarkably restored woman at his table. He hadn’t been affected by her nakedness in the ways he would have been at almost any other time. Besides, Rose had been there and helped clean Miriam up, bandage her wounds and get her into bed. Rose had picked out the clothes.

He reflected on that scene, wondering if he’d have been as composed and business-like if Rose’s ex-husband had dropped in out of the deluge, babbling incoherently, the way Miriam had talked in her delirium as they worked on her together.

Not bloody likely, he knew. He’d have been more likely to stop the yammering of the man by putting a pillow over his face and holding it there.

But not Rose. She was full of surprises, that one.

But the woman he’d once loved to the point of insanity, the woman who had run away without a word, was sitting at his table.

He felt equal parts anger, intense relief, and an odd flutter of the heart.

What was he going to do now?

 

 

Ch. 4, part 2: Rose.. A Little About Rose


tardis_rose
Rose Tyler (Dr. Who)

But who, intact,
would Venus [de Milo] be?
Some standard-issue
ingénue. Give me
a woman who’s lived
a little, who’s wrapped
her arms around the ages
and come up lacking: that’s
the stone that can move me.
—“Truth in Advertising,” Andrea Cohen

Ted’s doorbell, which sounded like Big Ben, rang at 9 p.m. precisely two days, seven hours and 23 minutes after he left the old Mill’s bar floating on the updrafts of new love.

He had music playing and had cleaned things up as much as one can in a house that’s full of carpenter’s tools and stepladders, the smell of fresh paint and polish.

Rose stood outside on the porch with her hair down on her shoulders, and breathtaking in a low-cut but still modest black dress that ended just above the knees, a silver necklace and playful eyes. She fairly glistened under the light.

To say that she was well put together would be like saying Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” was just an OK little sketch.

And never in the history of little black dresses had there been such a little black dress.

His heart fluttered a bit and then flopped over. His mouth went dry. She was overloading his nervous system. He liked it.

Her hair glowed in the light of late evening and the porch lamp. She must have done some fairy magic with makeup, because all he saw were her eyes and lips, a hint of swelling bosom…and felt something break loose in his chest.  Everything about her looked understated and expensive, and he forgot his own name.

Rose looked a little worried at first that he wasn’t saying anything. It had taken a lot of work to look like this, after all. But then she looked more closely and saw the wordless appreciation in his face and then blushed at what she saw behind it, and felt a thrill run through her at what that look did to her. She laughed, held up the bottle of wine she had in her right hand, and waggled it at him.

“Are you going to invite me in, or do I have to find another guy to share this with?”

That shook the spell off, and opened the door wide.
“Hi, Rose. I’m sorry. You … . You’re so gorgeous, I forgot how to speak there for a minute. Please…. Come on in.” She smiled up at him warmly and stepped across the threshold, presenting the wine bottle.

Their fingers brushed lightly as he took the bottle.

“You look beautiful, too,” she said, a little shyly, almost too softly to hear. “What say we get started on that wine?”

He took the wine and led her back to the kitchen, opened it and filled two glasses. Then, even though they both knew they were delaying the inevitable, he played tour guide to his pride and joy renovation/rescue project, all three floors. It took the better part of 40 minutes. Back in the kitchen, he refilled their glasses, pulled a tray of cheeses and olives and meats and crackers from the refrigerator, and tried to tuck another bottle of wine under his arm. She held up a hand, took the wine from him, picked up the open one and a cork screw with her other hand and he grabbed the food tray and led her up the winding staircase to the tower room with its 360-degree view of town and treetops, where he’d earlier put some candles.

The summer sun was just touching the top of the mountain to the west, filling the room with a golden glow. They had had a spell of clear, dry air settling down from Canada over the valley, with sunny days and cool nights, so the windows were open and a slight breeze moved through.

He sat on one of the couches as she took her time inspecting this last space, sipping wine without saying much. She took in the view of town below, of the mountains to the west and north, and the tree tops of the old neighborhood stretching to the east toward the gigantic old limestone open mine a couple of miles out in the forests that surrounded them. It was just getting dark enough that the glow of the university town 10 miles away over a ridge to the south could be seen blotting out the first stars. The street lights and the yellow glow of the lights below in the downtown looked more inviting. He took in her presence, smiling at how lovely she was, how she moved so effortlessly. She’d chosen the dress well, too, and he watched her body move under it, enjoying the swish and sway of the fabric falling from shoulder, and breast and hip, but stopping at two of the finest pair of legs he’d seen in a long time, bare, with no stockings.

After she paused back at the beginning, looking pensively toward the glow of the western sky, he cleared his throat.

“What’s your story, Rose Tyler?” he finally asked, breaking the silence. She turned at the question, eyes dark and serious. He indicated the tray of food and offered to refill her glass. He stammered… “You know a lot about me — God knows I’ve been doing nothing but talking about myself all evening — but now it’s your turn.”

She didn’t answer right away, but took another sip of wine and held it to her lips for a few seconds, looking at him over the rim of the glass with unfathomable eyes. She moved to the seat opposite, but close enough that he could have touched her knee if he had just leaned forward a bit.

She held the stem of the wine glass with both hands in her lap with knees together and ankles crossed.

“Let’s eat first. I’m starving, and much more wine on an empty stomach and I don’t know what I’ll do,” she said. “But then you’ll get the whole sad story.”

Later, after the food and after they shared some more of their personal stories, they sat in silence for a while, sipping wine, neither knowing exactly what to say.

He put his wine glass down and leaned forward. Might as well be blunt, Ted thought.

“I’ve been thinking about you almost non-stop since the other day at lunch,” he said. “Truth be told, I’ve been thinking about you a lot even before that. And I want to kiss you,” he said. “Almost more than anything I can think of right now.”

She put her glass down on the side table and looked at him with a frank invitation in her eyes. “If you hadn’t said that pretty soon, I was going to,” she said, her voice a little husky. “And then I want to see more of that bedroom.”

Somehow– he later couldn’t remember moving– he was next to her and the room was lit only by a candle by the time they  broke away. The sun’s glow was gone from the sky and the moon was rising, but it seemed as though no time had passed for the two of them.

They were both breathing hard. She put her head against his chest and ran her hand up and down, then back inside where buttons had been opened before. Her touch seemed infused with fire.

“Oh, my,” she said, voice husky and hushed. “Oh, my.”

He kissed the top of her head and stood, then moved around blowing out each candle. The moon was rising, filling the room with blue light, enough for them to see now. He took her hand and drew her up from the couch to him, kissed her once, touching her tongue with his. Without another word, he led her down the stairs.

The next week was a rushing memory. Rose left at mid-morning the next day and went to the restaurant. Ted met with a decorator and a plumber and some other tradespeople finishing up the upper rooms, and felt like he had a grin plastered on his face the whole time.

When he was alone he found himself whistling, something he hadn’t done for years. He also realized he wasn’t very good at whistling, but didn’t care.

Rose came back that night and brought some samplings from the restaurant, and also had a snack of cheeses at the big table in the kitchen. They washed it down with some German beer, and talked again for an hour about their lives and their losses.

She grew quiet after a while, and he could tell she wanted to say something. He waited.

“I like you, Ted,” she said. “I really do. Last night was unbelievable. But I need to be clear about something.”

“Um, Ok,” he said, wondering what was coming, fearing the worst.

“We’re both grownups,” she started again. “We know what we like, and what we don’t, and neither of us has time for games any more. That’s for kids. I’ve got issues. You’ve got issues. But I do love the way you use your hands,” she said.

“I know, I know,” he said, waving modestly. “My hands should be insured. I’m gong to call Lloyds tomorrow,” he said. “You certainly were vocal on that point last night.”

“Very funny,” she said, dipping a finger in her beer and flicking it at him. “But I’m not looking for anything permanent here. It might happen. I like being with you. We’re two people who need each other right now, who can make each other laugh. But it’s too soon for either of us to get too serious. I’m too scared about something bad happening again. The divorce was brutal. But I should warn you, I could very easily fall for you, and if that happens, it will be very hard for you to get away.”

“But let’s try to keep it loose for the time being, OK?”

As she said this, she reached over and took his hand and squeezed it.

“I get it,” he said, choosing to make light of it for now. He was feeling much the same. “You just want me for my body. And… “ he gestured at the shirt with a few cracker crumbs and the remnants of a spare tire under it…”I can’t really blame you. This is… well, it’s just irresistible.”

“Let’s just say that with the lights out, I can forget the cracker crumbs,” she said, rising and patting his stomach.

She led him toward the bedroom, although they didn’t make it all the way up the stairs on the first try.

The next hours were memorable. They dozed and then found each other again and again. At the last, she held him with arms and thighs, whispered urgently in his ear, made herself the safe habor into which the storms of his buried selves burst and were forgiven. At the final moment all of the grief and pain and doubt and anger stored inside from all those hard years of loss and disappointment left him.

Afterward, she lay quietly, fingers moving languidly over his skin, a feeling of deep contentment filling her.

They lay side by side, not speaking in the dimness of the giant old room. He let himself drift and wondered at what was gone from the day before— a darkness in his gut that he had felt so long that it seemed normal. He had a brief sensation of sliding down a warm slope. In an instant, he was deep asleep for the first time in months.

She pulled the sheet up over them and settled in under his chin, her head on his chest and one leg and arm thrown possessively over him. He stirred and murmmered something unintelligible and put his arm around her shoulder and then was still again, breathing deeply. With a strand of hair across her face and enigmatic smile at the corners of her mouth, she closed her eyes and followed him into oblivion.

  1. “Mohana Das”

  2. “Captured”

  3. “Dream Girl”

  4. “Attack in the Family Room”

  5. “Fingers”

  6. A Little About Rose

  7. The Next Morning

  8. “What will be, Shall Be”

  9. “To the Death”

Liebster Award


liebster_award

A talented and lovely writer from New Zealand has honored me with a nomination for this award. I’m grateful, Errant, even though I’m still working at this whole blog thing. Thank you. 🙂

She a poet, essayist, dancer, screenwriter and original thinker. Her site is Errant Satiety.

According to the rules, I will answer her questions, nominate some blogs I follow (see below) and admire, relate some random facts about myself, and pass this along to them to make their own responses as I have. The purpose of this award is to help you discover new blogs, and so I’m happy to accept for that reason. There are some amazing people out there. 

 

Q&A

What quote is your favorite or gives you inspiration at the moment?

I think it’s this one, this week.

“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.” 
― Marcus AureliusMeditations

 

What poem has stayed with you for a long time and remains a favourite?

“I Am the Grass,” Carl Sandburg

Do you have any tattoos, if not would you consider getting one?

No and no. I just don’t see the point…. 🙂


Do you have a particular genre of music that you listen to or is there a surprising favourite artist?

I don’t have a favorite, but do have some I don’t listen to. But at various times I like Cuban, South African, 60s and 70s rock, some blues, some jazz, and some classical. I’m a Beatles fan since forever, and own almost everything by Crosby, Stills and Nash (and reluctantly) some things when Neil Young joined them. I don’t know if it’s surprising or not, but in my top ten artists, at least half are women like Joni Mitchell, Nora Jones, Allison Krauss and Eva Cassidy. I have a real basic lustful thing for smart, strong, bold women with good voices. When I listen to Eva Cassidy sing “Fields of Gold,” I lose it and think things that would probably get me arrested.


Is there a film that surprised you with drawing you in even though it was in a ‘genre’ that you wouldn’t normal watch?

Another topic where it’s hard to narrow it down. See, I watch a LOT of movies. I’ve had a Netflix membership for more than six years and at last count have rented or streamed nearly 6,000 movies from them. I don’t have a favorite genre, unless you count the Swedish versions of the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy. So much better than the Daniel Craig Hollywood version. Do yourself a favor and watch the originals.  The actor Michael Nyqvist is the image I have in mind for the main character in my book. 


Is there anything in your life that you have really had to fight hard to achieve?

Being a good man. Still trying.


What is the most blatant lie you have ever told?

“No, dear, those jeans don’t make your butt look fat.” Kidding. (That’s never been a problem.)  Seriously, though. I don’t believe I’ve ever told a lie. And there you have it.


What talent or skill would you like to develop more?

 Ballroom dancing or learning to play the guitar. Maybe both.


If you could live at any time history, when would it be?

Are you kidding? Right now. Like….Internet. Duh.

Of course, since I have mastered time travel, I can take my pick, so it’s really a moot point.


Do you have a phobia or something you are afraid of?

No phobias I’m aware of (or admit to myself.) The fear that is driving me most now as I approach retirement is the one that asks “what have you done with your life that’s worthwhile?”  I don’t have a good answer for that yet.


Do you have a favourite word?

 No.

I mean, that’s the word: “no”. I use it whenever I don’t have a good answer. I kind of like the word ‘duck’, though. It just sounds funny. Funnier than ‘chicken’.

 


 

Here are my nominees and the rules for those that choose to pay it forward (No obligation, guys!):

My Nominees:

Random facts about me: 

  • I work in stained glass and wood as a hobby.
  • I lived in Karachi, Pakistan for two years while in high school.
  • According to some dicy research I uncovered on Ancestry.com, one of my ancestors was Lady Godiva. Another was Rollo the Viking, founder of Normandy and ancestor of William the Conqueror. (Still waiting for the call letting me know I can move into my castle.) Of course, the latter, especially, might be a complete fantasy, given how often files got soaked with sea water and blood, and ruined in those open Viking boats.
  • I live in a Victorian home that we’ve completely restored, and did most of the work ourselves. It’s for sale.
  • I have seven toes on my left foot (that’s a lie; I was just wondering if you were still reading.)

The rules: 

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog–by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs you feel deserve this award, who have less than 1000 followers.
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules on your post. Once you have written published it, you then have to:
  8. Inform people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so they can learn about it (they might not have heard of it!)

 

Questions for these bloggers to answer:

  1. What was the title of the first thing you remember writing? Age?
  2. Have you ever had a dream about walking into work without any pants on?
  3. Have you ever actually walked into work without pants (or dress, etc.) on? Details!
  4. What’s the biggest challenge you have to writing regularly, and how do you overcome it?
  5. What do you read for fun?
  6. If you could be anyone in history, who would you choose and why?

 

The Versatile Blogger Award


As some comedian once said, “Well, ain’t this a kick in the pants?”

Image

Someone who’s a lot better at this than I, the sexy young thing who writes “The Migrane Chronicles,” just nominated this blog for the “Versatile Blogger” award. That is really gratifying. You should read her poems, you’ll see what I mean. Ripping good stuff. I think she may have a thing for older men, though. I know I have a thing for her.  🙂

I hate false modesty and humble bragging, so let me express how I feel this way:

Image

Rules of the award: I will tell you seven things about me, and nominate 15 others.

1. I’ve thought I was a writer since I wrote a fire safety play that was performed in front of the whole school in the third grade. It was mostly “adapted” from a book my teacher gave me, but I did try to make the dialogue edgy. I added a scene about a fireman saving a puppy, which I was real proud of.

2. I sent some jokes and a short story in to the Readers Digest back in my distant childhood, and they published them. I got a check for $10. I don’t remember the jokes, but the story was about my grandfather who kept bees and chewed tobacco. Once, he forgot to tie the mask around his neck, some bees got up inside and he got a bit agitated and spewed tobacco juice all over the inside of the mesh. I thought it was funny when I was 8. Still do; that should tell you about my maturity level at age 64.

3. Oh, yeah, I’m in my sixth decade. I embrace it, but gently. I just took one of those Facebook quizzes that said my emotional age was 25. So. There. Bite me, Grim Reaper.

4. I lived overseas in high school. Two years in Karachi, Pakistan. Best experience an Ohio farm boy ever had. I visited places that were old when Europe was just coming out of the Dark Ages, saw a skeleton of a soldier that had died in an attack on Mohen Jodaro 1500 years ago, and stood in the Taj Mahal. I went to high school with the greatest kids I’ve ever known. We world travelers like to hang out, you know?

5. Our flight to Pakistan was supposed to leave on Nov. 23, 1963. We got as far a Washington, DC, but stayed on for two weeks because the country was shut down following the assassination.

6. While I was staying there with my sister in Alexandria, I spent a day on my own down around the Mall. I saw men with submachine guns and shotguns lining the street. They all had skinny ties and dark suits on.  Then motorcycles and a big black limo roared by at 70 mph. It was Lyndon Johnson on the way to Capitol Hill a week after the JFK killing. Later on that day I met Jimmy Stewart’s grandson and did stuff boys do. We climbed the steps of the Washington Monument. (You could do that then, especially if you were 14.)

7. I am a student of the human experience, despite having a mixed record at being human myself. I love wine and women, not necessarily in that order. I love the very idea of them, even though I’m married 43 years. (Hey, I’m married, not dead!). But everything we people do seems fascinating. I am afraid I’ll run out of time to tell all the stories I see all around me. I wonder about what it would be like to fall in love again, one more time, too. I think that’s when we feel most alive.

But the love of my life would probably kill me, which would make the experience rather brief. Still…. :-).

Nominations for other really good blogs

  1. Rambling Rowes
  2. Mike Steeden
  3. Must be this tall to Ride
  4. Blue Venice: Lost in the Midlands
  5. The Trouble with Kids Today
  6. Carrying the Gun
  7. Is This Gentleman Bothering You? 
  8. Plan-B_each
  9. Lightning Droplets
  10. The Wandering Poet
  11. A House of Pommegranates
  12. The Ancient Eavesdropper
  13. Beautiful Chaos
  14. The Prodigal Londoner
  15. The Public Blogger