The Stories in My Neighborhood

Nearly every neighborhood I’ve lived in has had certain elements in common. There’s the house with too many cars. At least one is missing wheels and it’s up on cinderblocks. Another will be missing an engine. The one next to that will be wearing a minstrel’s motley of mismatched panels. 

There’s the house where the kids run wild. You’re never sure if adults actually live there because you’ve never seen them. Only the kids.  

Halfway down the street is the older couple who become surrogate grandparents to you and your children. The wild kids eat there a lot. 

There’s the nosy neighbor who always happens to be out walking when you’re in the garden, happily weeding away in a blank mental space because chapter eighteen isn’t working and why, oh, why isn’t chapter eighteen working. You don’t really want to talk to Bob, but Bob wants to talk to you because he’s an extrovert living alone in a house that’s much too big for him, so he spends his days roaming the neighborhood looking for people to talk to.  

(You’ll also run into Bob at the supermarket, library, bagel shop, and bank because Bob is always on the prowl.)  Continue reading “The Stories in My Neighborhood”

Five Years!

WordPress just informed me that my blog is five years old today! In honour of my blog’s fifth birthday, I thought I’d share five of my favourite posts.

Ramble: The Weed

This is one of my earliest posts, and one I reread on occasion because it reminds me of the fact that sometimes, it’s the little that make life special.

May 6, 2012

I try to spend at least an hour a day in the garden. It’s good for my daughter and it’s good for me.  I’m sure it’s good for the garden too.  As soon as the spring sun peeps from behind the last winter cloud, I don my sturdy boots and stiff new gloves and set to work pulling out all those weeds I was able to ignore when snow or leaves covered the ground.

When I lived in Texas, I battled with more than weeds. The previous year’s vegetable patch often continued to enjoy success in the form of tomato and cucumber seedlings popping up in the most unexpected places—usually the middle of the lawn. Often, I mused that if we went away for a month, we would return to find a tangle of cucumber vines covering the lawn, robust tomato plants poking up between. Sometimes, instead of plucking them out, I just mowed them down, curious to see if they would shoot back up by the end of the week.  They did.

Continue reading “Five Years!”

Flash Fiction: “Ghosts” and “Possession”

I keep most of my flash fiction on a Tumblr blog because I really like the format for posting pictures and keeping drafts…and some of the photos I find inspiring are NSFW. 😉

I’m sharing a two recent favourites here, though, because…well, I’m a writer. Says so up there under the header. Also, I have about three gaming posts lined up and there should be some balance on this blog.

Also, I just like sharing my stories. Continue reading “Flash Fiction: “Ghosts” and “Possession””

Unearthly Places

Photographs of unearthly places nearly always capture my attention—especially when they’re of earthly places. It’s not hard to understand why storytelling is such an integral part of our culture when you see pictures like these. Even the names of these places evoke tales of wonder.

The Door to Hell

"Darvasa gas crater panorama" by Tormod Sandtorv - Flickr: Darvasa gas crater panorama. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons
“Darvasa gas crater panorama” by Tormod Sandtorv – Flickr: Darvasa gas crater panorama. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons

Also known as the Gates of Hell and the Crater of Fire, Darvaza Crater is located in Derweze, Turkmenistan. Darvasa doesn’t have a great story…yet. It’s a natural gas field that collapsed into a cavern in the early 1970s and was set alight to prevent the spread of methane. It’s still burning today and serves as a popular tourist attraction. The name, however, inspires all sorts of stories. This place has been burning for over forty years. Who knows what changes have been wrought within? Perhaps it really is a path to the underworld.

Broken Teeth

Moonrise over Evanston, Illinois by James Jordan
Moonrise over Evanston, Illinois by James Jordan

I named this one. Photographer James Jordan calls it Moonrise over Evanstan, Illinois. Apparently he doesn’t see the broken pylons as the remains of a mountain top fort or what’s left of a forest after a drive of dragons has passed. This could be the sight that greets our adventurers when they crest the last hill. Or, it could be the promontory sailors warned them about. The home of sirens and sea serpents.  Or, maybe he does. 🙂

Night and Day

Night and Day by Nick Venton on 500px.com
Night and Day by Nick Venton

Nick Venton takes gorgeous photographs and obviously has a vision and a story to tell with each one. What I love about this is the juxtaposition of night and day. Taken at sunset, it shows the last part of the day with the night taking over (to paraphrase the photographer’s words). When I look at this photo, I see a planet with two suns. One is setting and the second is rising. The scenery in the foreground is full of stories too. It’s another lake shrouded in mist, but with a little squint or a bit of imagination, that could all be clouds. What lurks below? Or, if that is water, is this an ocean planet? Perhaps it’s a rare thing for the inhabitants to venture above the surface, so sit on those rocks and look at the light of two suns.

Tessellated Pavement

"Tessellated Pavement Sunrise Landscape" by JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons
“Tessellated Pavement Sunrise Landscape” by JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

There is a science fiction novel about a planet with mysterious lines crisscrossing a vast plane. The story follows the investigation of these lines. I wish I could remember the book. I thought it was by Stanislaw Lem, but I can’t find anything like that in his bibliography. Anyway! That’s what I see when I look at photos of the Tessellated Pavement. I didn’t always see an alien landscape, but I have always been fascinated by this place. It’s at Eaglehawk Neck in Tasmania and it was one of my favourite places to visit as a kid. Even then, my imagination was tickled. The formation of tessellations can be explained by fairly simple geology. It’s no great mystery. But it is nice to picture the pathway to a hidden destination or perhaps a city that no longer exists.

To check out my other posts on otherworldly landscapes and photographs that inspire the imagination, look under the photography tag.