Reflecting on Fiction

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A story is a cocoon from which to see the world. It might be exciting. It might be pointed. It might give a glimpse into another world or a look at another side of this one. It might use flowing language, plain language, or the kind of terse language that cuts to the quick, leaving the reader wounded by a lightning strike aha. Sometimes the picture says more than the words. Sometimes the words create a picture. There are so many possibilities. Here’s hoping that in 2020 we can find respect for the story no matter who tells it.

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Wishing all a happy and productive year in 2020. In case you didn’t see this New York Times Op Ed, I’ll pass it on as a follow up to something I wrote after the fire. Hoping for good news about the cathedral next year.

There Will Be No Christmas at Notre-Dame December 24, 2019 New York Times

The Star and the Magic Fish

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When the fish landed on shore, it talked so glibly that everyone thought it must be magic. Lines formed to ask for wishes. People shook their heads when they found themselves hoping for better roads and cleaner water, not personal fortunes. His silver scales reconfigured into a shooting star, he streaked away saying, “Work together and your dreams will come true.”

Two leaders arose. One saw the dangers of talk with no action, the other advocated action with no talk. Some chose the quickness of autocracy. Most bided their time. Talk takes longer, but the results are worth the wait.

Airport Sanctuary

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Quite often, the overhead sprinklers covered the floor of the D gates in a smooth sheet of water. No one knew why. Some suspected it was the amphibians.

The hot, dry weather drove them in. They made a steady pilgrimage through the walls and into the ceiling, working their way to the electrical box. Once there, they chewed through the wires like squirrels, sparking a conflagration.

When air travel was no longer sustainable, management turned the airport into a habitat for desert denizens. No more newts blowing across the desert, looking as desiccated as kale chips fresh from the oven.

What Price Honesty

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Marleybones had loved Lambykins since second grade. Never married, never asked, she’d persevered through his other women and ego-filled outbursts.

Geminis are mercurial, he’d explained.

It all changed with a Tarot reading. The significator, an upside-down heart pierced by three swords, foretold sorrow. But the outside formation moved from karma through completion. Luck was with her. Her boss was like a father to her. Her new ad campaign had won awards. She’d met someone else, just friends, but someone who liked her. She ghosted Lambykins. When he called, she was firm. She was free. Aquarians are not afraid of change.

Turkey

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At Grandma’s Thanksgiving, a mash-up of turkey, cranberries, second wave feminism, and Madman era misogyny collide. After a luscious dinner, you and your London chum play at Cockney rhyming slang in the library. Uncle Uncle fumbles, mumbles, tumbles, never suspecting that your friend, whose ass he pinches, is an expert kick boxer.

What did he expect? A docile blush? You show him a shot of his pained face on Snapchat. It’s captioned, “Stand back, the fourth wave is here.” He retreats to a corner, nursing his ‘Enry ‘Alls*, chugging highballs. Rules change. Change rules. You have exceeded his expectations.

* Rhyming slang for balls (rhymes with Halls.) See the entry from Wikipedia for Rhyming Slang. 

ScareCity

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Applauding a soprano note, the musician’s circle welcomed Katie. A yellow school bus served as the troupe’s rolling home. The air burned her lungs, but it was better than staying at ScareCity with Affluenza three times her age.

“No mask?”

“State of the art filters there.” She pointed to the building edging the lot.

While the flutist gave her a brownie baked on charcoal, the viola player found a mask. They tuned up. When Katie sang, the timbre of her voice was untouched by the scourge of wildfire smoke. In the morning, she left with them to see the world.

How to Achieve Serenity in Downward Facing Dog

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Breathe in. Bend forward. Anchor the palms of your hands to the floor. Step back. Stretch. Hips high, breathe out. 

Do not imagine goat yoga. Thinking of hard hooves climbing up your legs and down your back will cause you to laugh. Sheep playing “London Bridge” under the arc of your belly will induce yawning, maybe sleep. You groan. Six o’clock is awfully early to be awake.

Pay attention. Vinyasa to your stomach. 

The cat will stretch over, her raspy tongue licking your face, asking to play. Roll over. Rub her tummy. She’ll settle warm and purring. Close your eyes.