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Monthly Archives: January 2014

This week’s Trifextra Challenge gave us this photo. We were told to write 33 words inspired by the image. My piece, The Café, can be read below. It’s flash fiction from photography, for those of you who love alliteration as much as I do.

Creative Commons License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Photo by Thomas Leuthard. Found here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasleuthard/5678203035/

“The Café”

Evie could be found at her favorite café table with a stack of books every day at three.

Every day at three, Marcia walked past the café, gazing longingly at the reading girl.

This week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge gave us the “quaint” as our required word. Here’s my 333-word microfiction response.

“Quaint”

“I came here once, at least once, when I was a kid. Maybe more. My parents brought me here, but I don’t really remember the details of it. Regardless, I know that I love the atmosphere here more than pretty much any other bookstore we’ve ever gone to.”

“I like it,” Jason replied. “It’s quaint. In a good way, I mean,” he added, catching the frown that crossed my face. “Not weird, just, I guess, old fashioned.”

I waved my hand at the uneven shelves stacked with worn volumes and well-loved tomes. “That’s the best part! You don’t find classic indie bookstores anymore. I mean, the chains wiped out the little guys, and then Amazon came along and did the same thing to them. These guys have been around for almost forty years, and they’re still going strong.”

“And that’s impressive as hell, really. I love that they have the whole retro thing going for them, though I suspect that’s not entirely intentional. It’s a really cool store, but it just doesn’t have the same impact for me.”

“I guess not,” I sighed, pulling a copy of Swords Against Death from the shelf. “I liked this one. Too bad they don’t have the first of these in stock. Lieber’s characters are some of my favorite.”

“That’s the Gray Mouser guy, right? The one you based your old rogue on?”

“Yup. I used to get a lot of inspiration for D&D characters from this guy’s books. Guess my love for old sci-fi and fantasy is another one of those ‘quaint’ things about me.”

“And I love it,” Jason laughed. “Come on, then. This place is perfect for you. Why don’t you show me the rest of the store?”

I slipped the book back into place, carefully shifting those on either side of it. “Okay, but first you owe me a coffee.”

“Deal,” he said, pulling me away from the shelf. “And maybe I’ll even buy you a book after that.”

“Sounds like a deal.”

Today’s my third anniversary with WordPress. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working on this blog for the last three years, but here we are. It’s been fascinating to see the evolution of my writing over the course of those three years. I’m feeling more confident in my writing now than ever before, and it’s all thanks to you amazing readers. Those of you who’ve been around since the beginning? Thank you for continuing to believe in me. Those of you who are new? Welcome, and thank you for letting me share a bit of the crazy in my head with you. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

The Denver Broncos (my favorite football team since I was old enough to understand what everyone was yelling at the TV over) are going to the Super Bowl this year. I’m not normally overly concerned about football (or any other sport, for that matter), but this is a very exciting day for people in Colorado. So…

Yay Broncos!

We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Just thought I’d share this little beauty from Daily Infographic. The original can be found here.

This week’s Trifecta Challenge is based on the third definition Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary provides for the word “whatever.” Clocking in at exactly 333 words, here’s “Whatever.”

“The delete key is dangerous, you know. It’s why I like to write with a pen and paper. Pen’s better than pencil, too. It’s harder to throw writing away permanently when it’s not just 1’s and 0’s.” Marion smiled at me. Her arm was resting on my chest, rising and falling with each of my breaths.

“I know what you mean,” I replied. My fingers caught briefly in her hair and I pulled them free. “Sorry,” I muttered as they found her neck.

“S’okay. Didn’t hurt.”

“But I know what you mean about the delete key. That’s the hardest thing for me, when I’m writing something on the computer, anyway. I hate knowing that a single button press can wipe out any idea that didn’t strike me as immediately working.”

“Exactly.” She shifted slightly, leaning against my shoulder. Neither of us were really paying attention to the show we’d put on the TV. Our conversations had the tendency to shift toward work anyway, whether we intended for them to or not. “It just bugs me that I could lose an entire piece as soon as one ‘Whatever!’ moment hits me.”

“Papers can be pulled out of the trash. You know, provided you don’t set them on fire…”

“One time. That happened ONE time. Besides, I apologized for that. But you,” she said, slapping my chest, “won’t let me live it down.”

“Only because you set off the smoke alarms. We’re damn lucky we got the dorm aired out before the rest of the building alarms went off. Last thing we needed was for the RA to catch you drinking that night.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Still, I could always give you crap about the things you got caught doing on campus.” Marion flashed her Cheshire grin.

“Touché, love. I suppose it’s best to quit while I’m behind.” I pulled her close to me, kissing her forehead.

“I love it when I win.”

“That’s why I let you get the last word.”

“Thanks.”

Yesterday afternoon, I had an opportunity to catch a screening of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Based on the 1939 short story by James Thurber, the film tells the story of a seemingly ordinary man who encounters the extraordinary via “zoning out” into elaborate and fantastic daydreams.

Ben Stiller plays Walter Mitty, a sixteen-year veteran employee of LIFE Magazine in charge of processing photographic negatives. Unfortunately for Walter and his coworkers, LIFE is in transition from print media to an online presence, and massive downsizing is taking place. As the staff prepares what will be the final printed issue, Walter receives a set of photos from Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn), an elusive freelance photographer who still works with film. Sean requests that negative #25 from the set be selected as the final issue’s cover photo, but much to Walter’s dismay, negative #25 is nowhere to be found. When clues from the rest of the photographs in the set point to Greenland, Walter sets off to save his job by finding O’Connell, in the hopes that he might still have the missing negative.

As a fan of Ben Stiller’s work in comedy, I was very excited to see him taking on a far more dramatic role than he usually plays. As Mitty, he presents a man whose life is so dull and dreary that his fantasies are initially his only likable quality. They give glimpses into the man he could become. Interactions with his coworkers, family, and crush, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) quickly prove that there’s more to Walter than meets the eye. As his attempts to find the last photo lead him around the world, Walter Mitty learns that his “secret life” in his dreams is nothing in comparison the beauty and splendor that can be found in reality.

With a soaring soundtrack to match the vivid cinematography, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a solid and thought-provoking film. Transitions into and out of Walter’s daydreams are brilliantly done, to the point where Walter himself has trouble distinguishing fact from fiction as his adventures grow. As the film goes on, the motto of the magazine becomes more and more relevant. “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” 

I loved this movie, plain and simple. If you have the time, give it a shot.

A while back, I posted a story that was inspired by a piece of paper I’d encountered in a returned book at the library. Last week, I found a similarly inspiring note scribbled on a scrap of paper at my bookstore. This one has spawned a short poem rather than a short story, but nonetheless, I wanted to share it with you.

“Come Seek Me”

Come seek me where I shiver and hide.
Find me through shadow and sorrow.
Take my hand and lead me from the dark,
That together we might seek tomorrow.

Come seek me where I shiver and hide.
Bring close the lantern that I might see.
Call my name and let me hear your voice,
So that together we might always be.

(Note: The first line of the stanzas was what I found written on the paper)

2014 is going to be the best year yet. I said that last year, and it’s just as true today. It’s going to be a big year, with lots of upcoming books, movies, and more. Here’s a little preview of what I’m looking forward to in 2014.

Books: Mr. MercedesA new novel from Stephen King hits shelves this June. King is always worth a read, and I can’t wait to hear what his latest tale has to offer.

Karen Traviss is releasing a new Halo book this year, with Mortal Dictata. She’ll be concluding the story she started with Glasslands and The Thursday War. I’ve really enjoyed Traviss’ take on the Halo universe, especially her depictions of the Sangheili (Elites) and their culture.

Conferences: I’m adding a category this year, because I’m planning (and hoping) to attend the Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference for the first time this year. Guests of honor include Gail Carriger, Jim C. Hines, and Chuck Wendig. It’s going to be an incredible weekend, and I’m hoping that some of my local writing friends, including V are able to join me.

Movies: Marvel’s Cinematic Universe continues to march into Phase 2. Following last year’s Iron Man 3 and Thor 2: The Dark World will be Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the relatively risky Guardians of the Galaxy. Winter Soldier should be a solid follow-up to The Avengers, with Cap having his WWII past catch up to him. Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be interesting, since the comic isn’t exactly the home of Marvel’s A-list characters. Still should be a hell of a movie to catch in the theatre.

Also this year, Wes Anderson’s new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel opens. I love Anderson’s style, and this looks to be a grand collaboration with all of his usual cohorts. Look for Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, and more great stars in the tale of a legendary concierge, Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes).

Television: Sherlock. It’s back, after far too long. British audiences got to see “The Empty Hearse” premiere already. American audiences should be getting in on the action by mid-January thanks to PBS (or sooner, if they’re clever).

Doctor Who celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. Now that Matt Smith has handed the sonic screwdriver and TARDIS key over to Peter Capaldi, it’ll be heading in a new direction. Having not yet seen the most recent Christmas special, I can’t speak to Capaldi’s role just yet, but any time the Doctor regenerates is exciting.

So here we go, 2014. I’m counting on you to be the best year you can be. I’ll do everything I can on my end.

Happy New Year, everyone.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.