Spell a Day – Jan 15th 2016

Today I am going to run straight to the point. My spell a day is about forgetting a bad memory. We all have regrets or experienced things we want to forget. Sometimes the mind is a blessedly intuitive device and we will have selective amnesia regarding these events. The truth is however that these events and memories shape who we are and how we see the world. One’s upbringing and experiences are who we are. While we would like to forget some things, we need to recognize the value of these mistakes and bad memories bring to our life. Now, I am not saying I hope that victims of horrible abuse or crimes should be force to relive those traumatic events. I wish with all my heart Gentle Readers that those people could find peace and solace from their mental, and sometimes physical, scars.

A memory that I wish I could forget, only if it would change the outcome, is the night I lost my grandmother. As my family prepares to welcome a new addition to our household in a few months, I cannot help but wish she was here to see the birth of her great grandchild. Her birthday is next month, she would have been 86 this year. Even though she has been gone several years now, I still shed a tear when I think about the woman that taught me so much growing up. I am ever thankful that I got to spend those last years with her, though I had to be the caregiver this time instead of her.

Somewhat related to the topic of bad memories, here is a poem.

Tears
Tormented nightly
Reliving the day again
When she was taken

So strong an sure all my life
The pain overwhelming my senses
To see her frail and weakCutting deeper than any knife
Into my soul, through my defenses
Even now my eyes leak

Tears of loss
Sadness at her passing
Tears of joy
For the years of laughing
Tears of peace
Now her pain is lacking

Wiping away tears
Shed for all the stolen years
Now just memories

 

Until next time Gentle Readers, I need to find a tissue.

Spell a Day – Jan 14th 2016

Today’s spell is about bringing prosperity into your home, and is something that we have unknowingly been doing every winter in my household. It involves taking some great smelling herbs/spices and boiling them in a pot of water on your stove. It makes your house smell great.

We have radiator heat in our older home so in the winter, it gets very dry. Because of this we often take cinnamon and apples, or orange peels, and boil them on the stove as a make shift humidifier. Unknowingly this is exactly the same thing recommended to bring some prosperity into your home. I suppose our lack of using the incantation or pouring the remnants outside instead of down the garbage disposal might account for not seeing the influx we were supposed to. I wonder if I can convince my wife that she needs to give it a little rhyme when she starts the water to simmer. Maybe it would work.

I penned a little poem about success and prosperity. Hope you enjoy.

Success
Success is the prize
Awarded for much hard work
A prosperous life

Working to perfect your craft
Whether or not it is in the arts
Even when others start to laugh
One step and your journey starts

You will stumble and fall
It’s only natural you see
But answer your heart’s call
To be who you’re meant to be

Study and work hard
To gain that which you desire
Personal success

 

Until next time Gentle Readers.

Spell a Day – Jan 10th 2016

SleepDream

Today we are suppose to talk about dreams. The picture is our bigger dog, Moose. He is taking a little nap on the couch as there was nothing going on this day. He gets a little squirmy when he is bored.

To dream, at least the dreams we are to talk about today, one must be asleep. I don’t know about all of you my gentle readers, but Sleep can be a fickle mistress for sure. There are weeks where I am lucky to get 4 hours of sleep. There are times I have such vivid dreams that I have trouble waking up. It is where many a poem or story idea has come from. Now if I could just get them all down on paper I would have at least a dozen books on the market right now.

I have tried everything to get to sleep, even blending up special teas from ingredients known for helping one sleep. The best method I have found for falling asleep fast is merely to focus on breathing and willing my muscles to relax. My wife is driven nuts by my ability to fall asleep by controlling my breathing. I guess it is a form of meditation but I never studied meditation too deeply. I have trouble quieting the voices in my head for that, unless I am trying to fall asleep, then they just wait to attack my dreams.

I found an older poem I never shared with all of you on here that talks about sleep and dreams. I had a severe cold and sleeping with a stuffed nose is no fun. If you have never experienced that, count yourself lucky.

No Sleep
Head full of cotton
No rest for me on this night
A sinus clogged death

Eyes are wide open
Staring at the clock all night
No restful dream sleep

What is there to do
No pill works in the slightest
To end my torment

The quiet taunts me
As sleep eludes my doomed grasp
Until morning comes

 

Feel free to share your sleep deprivation remedies in the comments and see you next time.

Spell a Day – Jan 8th 2016

My Spell A Day Almanac says that January 8th is a day to get fired up for success.

volcano

WHOOPS, I don’t think that’s what was meant. The New Year is getting well underway and I hope everyone is still keeping up with their resolutions. I know I am. I am still floundering my way through the revisions on my first novel. (Damn you Sudoku for being so additive.) I have managed to do a couple book reviews so I am getting somewhere with that. And if everyone looks at the date on this post, I am only 10 days behind on this Spell a Day feature. I am making such incredible headway. Oh, yeah, I am also still the same weight I started the month off at. I blame sweets and the cold weather for this. It is very hard to go outside and do anything fun when it is negative windchills. Just not something I want to do.

Chinese philosopher Laozi is quoted as saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Contrary to some belief, it was not his contemporary Confucius who said this. Have you taken your first step on your resolutions my gentle readers? I want to encourage you all to take hold of what it is you want this year and make it happen.

I have a poem to share with you about chasing your dreams.

Journey’s Beginning
Journeys great or small
Begin with a single step
Take your first today

Success means different things
To paupers as it does to Kings

Dream the crazy dream
Wild with imagination
Because it’s all yours

Don’t lose sight of your goals
Don’t fear obstacles in your way
Even when your fires is merely coals
A little fuel can burn as bright as day

Find our true passions
And chase them to fruition
Then hold them tightly

 

Hold onto your goals and dreams for this year gentle readers. Until next time.

Book Review – Antholocaust by Justin Osborne

antholocaust

Antholocaust
By Justin Osborne

5 stars

Justin put together a collection of the macabre and insane in this collection of short stories. From the opening poem, you know that this is a trek into the nightmares of a deeply creative mind. As you read through the stories you will see what a great storyteller Justin is. Some are cute and campy but with a horrific twist, others are downright thrillers to chill your blood. He tackles man versus himself, as well as Man versus beast. I am not going to go into much detail about the stories because that would spoil it for the rest of you gentle readers.  However, I will say this. I need a Muffinz. That’s with a ‘Z’ you know. For Street Cred.

The only downside for me and I had to bring this up is that there are several places throughout the stories where I think it could have benefited from one more read through. I found cases of word repetition in the same sentence, and a few cases where it was clear something was missing. They weren’t many, and I have seen big name author’s with just as many, if not more. For this reason, I still give it 5 stars, only because a 4.5 just doesn’t work on the rating pages.

Go out and pick up this great little e-book on Amazon a the link below.

Antholocaust by Justin Osborne

Spell a Day – Jan 5th 2016

red-planet-mars

Mars, the Red Planet, associated with the God of War himself. So, in the picture above, Mars just doesn’t look that impressive. For those of a metaphysical bend, it is important to note when Mars’ influence comes into your life. This could be a particular combative person invading your “space”, or a sudden urge to go to war yourself over something. Sure, there are people who downplay this sort of thing, but who knows how the cosmos pulls at us really? The moon controls the tides and throughout history people have claimed it affects mood and energy level. Why not let the red planet incite a little blood lust.

Back to the task at hand, I would say that, if Mars has an effect on us psychologically, the bastard must live in my house. I wish he would find someone else to bother. Maybe I can find him and go Teddy Roosevelt on his ass.
TeddyRoosevelt

That would solve his flaming sword attitude. Anyway, I dug up an old poem of mine about Anger I thought I would drop in the bottom of here.

Darkness, Control, Blindness, Rage
Darkness
Not absence of light
But a blinding rage
Against all that is good
Within your life
The
Control
Lost in the evil blight
Let loose from its cage
Doing all that you could
To stem the strife
causing
Blindness
Hiding all that is right
No compass to gauge
No morals that would
Battle the knife
Held by
Rage
Try with all your might
Try to turn the page
And save all that is good
Within your life

 

So, Mars gets a bad rap honestly. Not all war is bad. Not all anger is cruel. Sometimes the righteous anger at injustice or evil in the world is just what is needed to purge in cleansing fire that which is undesirable. It doesn’t even have to be that epic sounding. It can simply be that moment when you decide to change something about your life. Making that decision can seem like waging a war on yourself. So when you go to war, for whatever the reason, remember Mars and his red sword of fire. May it cut the way you want it to gentle readers.

What have you gone to war over? Trying to quit a bad habit? Excise some malevolent figure from your life? Let’s hear it in the comments.

On this Day in Literary History – Nov 9th

November 9th was not a terribly full day of literary success, but there was an event that is connected to my life in a small way.

Dylan_Thomas_photo

Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)

Dylan Thomas was not a poet I knew much about, except that I read his poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night” in high school English class. I have also seen many of the numerous references to it in popular culture since. In researching Thomas’s life, I found a tragic story of near poverty and alcoholism that led to an early death in smog filled New York.

You can read his poem here, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” This link is hosted by Poets.org, who received permission to post the work.

In looking over more of his work, it is a shame that Thomas was not able to overcome his vices as he could very well have gone on to greater heights. I wonder about the connection between alcoholism and the creative mind. Are creative types more susceptible to addiction of any kind but in particular alcohol? Greats such as Faulkner, Poe and Hemingway all battled with alcohol during their lifetimes. Something to ponder on a rainy day with a blank notebook and a few fingers of good whiskey I think.

A Good Deed today…

Let me start by saying we are supposed to push into the 90s today. Sure, that isn’t as bad as where I grew up in South Carolina, but for Wisconsin, that is hot. Luckily today I am in an air-conditioned office being a logistical wizard. I did brave the heat to pick up some lunch for myself and a coworker.

I walk out of the place where we had ordered from and this slightly heavyset, obviously Native American man with a duffle bag calls out to me, “Marine?” Now, gentle readers, picture this: I am a 6’5, 350lbs computer geek. Granted I have decided to keep my head shaved because I am balding so bad it is pathetic (helps that my wife likes it shaved so I do it for her). In my opinion, I in no way look like a Marine, current or former. I calmly respond, “No sir, my grandfather was one in WW2.” Don’t ask why I volunteer such information to so odd a question asked between complete strangers. It was a reflex response. The other man has stopped across the car from me near the front corner of my passenger side as I open the driver’s door.

He tells me this story about how he is visiting his brother on the reservation (points west so he did know where we were in relation to the reservation) and says he is trying to get to the east side of town. I hate to assume anything of anyone on appearances alone, but my immediate assumption that he is probably homeless will be clear in a moment.

I shake my head slowly, replying, “Sadly I am heading north back to the office. I was just picking up lunch for one of the guys and myself.” I could see disappointment flash across the man’s face. He began pressing me if I could just “take him as far as I was going”.

I know the world is full of horror stories about hitchhiker’s. Hell, I might use this in a thriller or horror book if I ever write one. Something told me this guy was harmless. I pause and I could tell he was thinking I might relent. I respond, “Look, I can take you up to the Kwik Trip before I get back on the highway.” For those of you unfamiliar, Kwik Trip is a gas station chain. Probably one of the best I have ever seen for their hot bar of sandwiches and such. Their gas seems to run pretty well in my vehicles compared to BP or Shell.

The man was pretty excited about it. It was hot and I am sure even the mile I was moving him along would be a help to him. It also put him near a pretty busy intersection so maybe he could find someone else who is going across the river to the east side of town. He climbed in the passenger side and we began talking.

He tells me that he asked if I was a Marine because I looked like an old buddy of his from the service. He knew it couldn’t be his old friend because the fellow soldier died in combat in Afghanistan. I expressed my sympathies for his loss and my appreciation of his service. I did not end up joining the Air Force when I had graduated high school, but my little brother served two tours overseas. Veteran’s and service personnel are true heroes, even if they never see combat and just are the ‘paper pushers’. Someone has to make that big machine keep rolling.

Waiting on a stoplight to turn green, this is where I knew he was saying whatever he could to get someone to help him. He begins talking about his time as a member of Seal Team 4, and how horrible it was that the enemy took out Seal Team 6. In my head I am trying to reconcile him being a Marine in Afghanistan, and a member of Seal Team 4 (which is South/Central America according to the Navy website by the way). I didn’t call him on his discrepancies. It was bloody hot out and I didn’t really go out of my way. I had a small concern that he might try to grab the wheel or something of the car. I figured I could probably handle him if it came down to it. Even though the idea that this could end badly flashed through my mind, my gut reaction was that he was just down on his luck.

So away we went. A short mile or so later I dropped him off at the gas station with a full parking lot. We said good bye, he thanked me again for the short lift and off he went.

“Matt”, if that is your true name. I don’t know whether you were a true Vet or not but it did not matter to me. You were a fellow human being, obviously suffering, and I was glad I could be a little help. I wish I had been just out for the day, I might have dropped him off somewhere on the east side of town. Sadly my job requires my presence so I had to head back. Take care.

A Brief Car Ride

The hot sun blazes
The car is cool and shaded
“Can I get a lift?”

A man down on his luck
Approaches me in a parking lot
“Man it sure is really hot,
Can I get a ride in your truck?”

“I have been visiting my brother
But now it’s time to head home
I’m hoping to find another
Going my direction.”

“Sir, I wish I could be of help to you
But at the highway I turn north
It’s only a mile but if that’ll do
I can drop you at the station.”

“That would be great
I appreciate it man
You are a good soul.”

“Don’t mention it sir
Thank you for your service too.
Good Luck, Safe Travels”

Poem – Dream, Dance, Sing

Dream, Dance, Sing

Dream this little dream
Of life in all its splendor
Once is all you get

Dance this crazy dance
Roll the dice and take your chance
You only get once

Since your single song
It’s your state to own this time
The whole of your life

Dream the dance you sing
Take the splendor on your state
Once is your whole life

Poem – Baseball Season is here…

Baseball Season Is Here…

Pass the peanuts
Baseball has begun
Keep swinging those bats
You can hit a home run

Excitement is in the air
Baseball season is here
Love all the ballpark fare
Don’t drop it when you cheer

Crack of the bat
Slap of the glove
Lower your hat
Sun glares from above

On the field it’s burning hot
Those in the stands are sweating too
But we have to see what our team’s got
Cheering them right on through

When the game does finally end
Whether in victory or defeat
Tomorrow we will do it all again
A new opponent to meet