The Question Mark Tree

question tree 1

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Carmella May Sweet,

Climbed to her seat,

Up in the Question Mark tree.

She was given a task,

Her teacher had asked,

Just what she wanted to be?

As she wondered, “Why?”

Her brother played spy,

Watching her, way down below.

Grandma came home,

Daddy dug loam,

Her thinking was sorrily slow.

A small forest newt,

In a bright red suit,

Crawled happily in the shade.

Carmella knew,

The day would be through,

Before her decision was made.

The farmer next door,

 Swept his barn floor.

As daylight turned to dark.

Suppertime near,

No answer yet clear,

Her dog was beginning to bark.

All day had passed.

She walked home at last.

Troubled ’bout who she would be.

Homework undone,

She started to run,

An answer came through suddenly.

No need to decide,

But simply take pride.

In all that she is everyday.

So much of what’s you,

Is more than you do.

So this is all she could say:

I’m a sister, granddaughter, daughter and friend.

A neighbor, love Nature, these things have no end.

I think I’ll simply wait and see.

For now, I like just being me.

Random Word Story # 28~ Testy Terms

Random words generated by: randomwordgenerator.net

adequately…light-headed…laminates…refresher…testiest

Here’s my story:

Gomme_da_masticare

There was nothing Mia could do once the agreement was signed. She needed a roommate and Holt was the only one who had answered her ad. So she overlooked his testy attitude which was a big mistake.

Holt had answered her invitation with questions galore. Some like, “Would he have bathroom access between 6:00 and 7:00 am?” were understandable. Asking her not to ever chew bubblegum, in his company, was bizarre. But, his references checked out and were stunning, to say the least. Even his credit score, which he should have embossed on a medallion and worn on a chain, was as close to perfect as she’d ever seen. Mia worked, afternoons and evenings, at a savings and loan and she was impressed. His testiness could be overlooked in favor of paying the rent on time. Mia was hopeful for the weight of debt to be lifted.

As Holt set up his basement abode, his tidy nature served as a refresher course in organized behavior. Everything had its place and she found his labels, which of course he laminates, quite efficient. Holt was going to be a life saver.

He hadn’t even cared that the basement was dark. He assured her that he could adequately light it with fragrant candles and a bare 25 watt bulb.

Months went by and Mia never saw Holt, never heard him either, but she was very happy to discover his rent money placed in her mailbox with a laminated note, FOR RENT, on the first of each month.

When she received her Amazon purchase wrapped in many layers of bubble wrap, Holt was the furthest thing from her mind. With a child-like grin she playfully stomped the heck out it beneath her shoe.

“Pop, padda, pop,pop!”

Seconds later, Holt burst through her door carrying an assault rifle. His eyes were wild and his attitude was, well, the testiest! Mia dove for the floor as he sprayed her apartment with bullets until all that remained was the clicking of an empty magazine.

Within minutes, police surrounded her building and extracted a blubbering heap once known as Holt. Mia would be nauseated and light-headed for days.

It was three months before she recovered. The accumulation of new debt was enough for her to try out a new roommate. This time, she presented the prospect with her own questionnaire. The woman read and answered every question, then giggled, “What does bubblegum have to do with anything?”

Random Word Story #26~Not for Profit

Infrared remote control receiver for Arduino

profit…ticket…old man…vet…sofa…war

There was a battle going on and Ben, this time, was only a spectator. He felt powerless…

As he wrapped himself in the afghan and settled into the sofa, he automatically probed the spaces for his TV remote. He considered what to watch realizing, only then, that he was unaware of the day and date. How long? His mind scrambled for a recent event that he could use as a landmark. Nothing… He was a military vet, now at  war, with himself.

A chopper roared overhead and as the dust cleared, he was back on base. The US flag gave a crack, as the wind wrestled with it, straight above his head. #1 mess hall was emptying. There were fly boys everywhere. He was momentarily startled but smiled broadly when his “brothers” approached him. They were cackling with laughter and he couldn’t wait to hear the joke.

Ben raised his hand to wave and brought the remote from between the cushions. He wasn’t quite sure where he was until he noticed that Comedy Central was on. The TV was blaring laughter … now applause. Clap, clap, clapping…

Snap, snap, snapping went the artillery. It was dark. He was so afraid.

Covering his face with his hands, he felt wiry stubble and tried, oh so hard, to remember his last shave. An image of himself in the bathroom mirror pressed through the fog. He was wearing his Air Force uniform. Blood trickled from a shaving cut at the corner of his lip. He was no longer a ragged old man. His posture was stiff and his eyes were steady. As he wiped the blood with the back of his right hand, he noticed the TV remote was still in his grasp. Behind him was the sun coming through the living room window. He was wrapped in the afghan and standing beside the sofa. He licked his lips. They tasted like iron.

Benjamin decided to make himself some tea to calm his nerves… the warmth and flavor always helped to anchor himself in the “here and now”. Whatever and where ever that was.

As he returned to his well-worn place, he felt steadier. It was Monday…yes, he was sure of it. He had reached to the bottom of the tea container for the famous quotation ticket and noticed he still held it in one hand. Ben shook, a bit, as he read it. Then he tore it into tiny pieces and tossed it into the air.

“Madness is tonic and invigorating. It makes the sane more sane. The only ones who are unable to profit by it are the insane.” Henry Miller

Spontaneous Writing: My Dilemma

English: This is a Venn diagram showing the re...
English: This is a Venn diagram showing the relationships between pronunciation, spelling, and meaning of words, for example, homographs, homonyms, homophones, heteronyms, and heterographs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever find that the monologue in your head is so much more brilliant than you? The words flow with an amazingly beautiful voice but faster than the hand can reproduce. There’s an exercise called spontaneous writing that, I believe, tries to capture what’s in your head.

Certainly, spelling has no use there…at least not for me, I cannot presume to know if you “see” words in your head when my head is filled only with my voice. BTW- I do see numbers and charts in my head in a three-dimensional and, what I have come to understand, bizarre fashion. But, I’m on a word search today.

My dilemma, most of my writing is prompted by my personal dilemmas, is the act of spontaneous writing. The NANO month of November is one example. There’s also a blog , Magic in the Backyard by author Kellie Elmore, which asks for raw prose. The prime directive of these writing prompts is to write without any focus on grammar, spelling or corrections.

I want to do this! It sounds like a fun, and such a freeing, act but I somehow cannot make the final leap. My inner editor won’t shut down and I won’t do it and cheat. In order to take part, I have to be willing to produce material that is “unclean” and share it.

Does this come from an arrogance? I ask myself. Am I afraid to be seen as imperfect? My answer is, not exactly. Some of it IS from not wanting to be terribly imperfect. If you’ve seen my spelling errors even when I use spell check, then you may already suspect it. BUT, I believe my hesitance is more about being misunderstood.

Words are such an anemic medium. It takes careful placement and timing to reproduce the author’s meaning. In my case, I want meaning to be as clear as words allow and I cannot envision my writing being shared when I have not reread and edited it for meaning ,and yes, I believe incorrect spelling does dilute meaning. At the very least, it interrupts the flow and pleasure of the reader. And who of you doesn’t realize how very important the placement of commas can be?

So there you have it. I want desperately to play and I will not cheat which makes it so very hard for me to try.

Do you suffer the same struggle when asked to write spontaneously?

PS…this post was spell checked repeatedly and was corrected every time. 🙂

Random Word Story #25~Carl’s Adventure

An area of the Sierre Madre jungle
An area of the Sierre Madre jungle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Random words generated by creativitygames.net

bird…threat…shadow…capital…sand…chewing gum

Here’s my story:

The jungle was thick, steamy and oppressive. Carl had no idea when he’d become lost. Guess that’s how getting lost happens. It poses more of a threat, though, when you’re in a jungle rather than on the highway.

The humming of insects was deafening. He faded back and forth, noticing the din, then ignoring it …feeling afraid, then exhilarated. His vacation was almost over and his adventure was only beginning. He fumbled through his backpack taking inventory of his supplies. A compass…dang, why hadn’t he asked someone how to use it?… One unopened apple juice box …and one piece of chewing gum.

He felt helpless, yet for a moment, he was amused.

He thought, “MacGyver would even fold with these tools. Sucks to be me.”

Carl was a level-headed fellow. He considered himself safe until he wasn’t safe. No need to panic.

As the grin was fading from his face, there came a shadow from over head. A brightly colored bird was circling. It reminded him of a vulture from those Tarzan films he watched as a kid. When vultures arrived, folks knew they were in trouble with a capital “T”. He decided it might be a good idea to follow the bird. When he looked up again, he was hit in the face with a tremendous, wet dropping!

It was sandy and warm. His arms flailed! He couldn’t see! He couldn’t BREATHE!

“DUDE! Chill! It’s just a towel.”

Carl’s first sight was a purple kite flapping in the wind overhead. His next sensation was sound. Waves of the approaching high tide were drumming. His heart felt as though he’d just run a marathon. There was an afternoon steam rising from the over-baked sand in front of his beachfront accommodations…

It was then, the lifeguard retrieved his wet towel from Carl’s chest and walked into the sunset.

Random Word Story #18~A Story for Kids

Random words generated by creativitygames.net.

cucumber-01
cucumber-01 (Photo credit: geirf)

My task is to create a story, in one sitting, using randomly generated words.

My words are:... moss…attack…spike…anchor…pirate…cucumber

Here is my story:

Spike grew redder with anger. His attempt to move across the Bay had been foiled again! An anchor, from an ancient pirate ship, was blocking his forward progress.

Now what?

His mother had always whispered, “Slow and steady, slow and steady.”, to him. He had no choice but to move slowly! He was just a sea cucumber after all.

“Great crumbling hull! ” he shouted in frustration. He was glad that his mother could not hear him resorting to foul language but if he didn’t release some anger he felt he’d burst.

“Yeah, chum THAT you old creepy anchor!”

There was nothing to do but take the long way around. Heck, every way is the long way when you’re a sea cucumber.

Mother had stayed right where she grew up, in a small depression where all her family had grown. Not Spike. He had ambition. He wanted to see the world if only one inch at a time.

“I have better things to do than be depressed with my whole family. They can kiss my moss!”

So on he went. It had taken him a week to move this far.

He enjoyed where he was now. Just one cucumber in a strange new universe.

“Pssst! Yo dude!” A tiny blue crab was peeking from under a white scallop shell.

“What do you want?” Spike snipped.

“If I were you I’d turn around, stop all that complaining and cussing and go home. You’re not very bright for such a colorful creature. You stick out like a clam in a coral reef!  There’s safety in numbers. When the migrating squid come through and attack you, I ‘ll bet you’ll wish to be back home. Dumb cucumbers are their favorite dish!”

“Who do you think YOU are telling me what to do?”

The crab raised both arms. One held a beautiful large claw. The other was just a stub.

“The voice of experience and reason. THAT’S who.”

It took Spike 10 days to return from whence he came. On the eleventh day, he watched the squid migration overhead. He didn’t stand out any more but that fact was a good thing.

Random Word Story # 17~Wasted

Two Towers Las Vegas
Two Towers Las Vegas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Random words generated by creativitygames.net.

My words are:  switch…vinegar…wardrobe…bottle…dice…fountain

Here is my story:

Randolph McMann was too old to switch careers. His elderly mother still hounded him daily about his wasted intellect and shabby attitude.

At 61 years old, he was still a window washer and expected that he would be “laid out” in his white coveralls when he left  this world too. Even when he was off duty his wardrobe was the same.

Mom had moved in with him 5 years ago when Dad died. Despite his Irish name, he was a Native American through and through. His mother was a full-blooded Navaho and he was very proud of that lineage. His grandfather had called him “Little Pigeon” because he had enjoyed walking the ledges untethered since he was a kid.

Grandfather’s breath always smelled like vinegar. Randolph asked him repeatedly for a more noble Indian name. He’d hoped for something like, “Walks on the Wind” or “Fearless Falcon”.  But Little Pigeon stuck and he continued calling him that until the “bottle” claimed his life.

Today  Randolph was at the top of his game you might say. 27 stories above the Las Vegas strip. There was quite a warm wind blowing as he anchored himself to his scaffold and began cleaning. He’d made a very good living as the stereotypical Indian climber. He had no fear of heights even now that the “bottle” was his companion too. The nips rattled in his over-sized pockets as he knelt to grab a scrub brush. He’d emptied three of them before arriving.

He’d never gambled or ran with wild women. His mother’s complaints nagged him though. As he worked in silence, his mind tossed over many missed opportunities. He’d shown a real gift for art and math was so easy for him, in school, that he would skip the class and sit on the roof only to show up for finals.

He concluded that he belonged among the clouds no matter what anyone said when the scaffold tipped suddenly to the right.

“Damned thing. I’d do better without this contraption!” He reached for another nip and downed it while investigating the problem.

His vision suffered miserably once his blood alcohol level rose yet he swung himself upon the ledge and unhooked his “safety strap”.

A nearby fountain had sprayed a mist upon the wind which had settled on that very ledge. Randolph was falling before he even realized.

Luckily, he made it to the pavement without hitting anyone. His final thought was about the safety of others. He never heard the screams and commotion that followed. The man who never had rolled the dice, never even tried, had lost.