27 June 2012

Creative Writing - The Window

There it is, again, serving no purpose other than to taunt me and perplex my inner child. Who would design such a home with a circular window to a bedroom closet? Something tugged at my heart when I first discovered the window. Though odd as it is, it gives the closet an endearing quality.

The eeriness about the room doesn’t frighten me. I am accustomed to it, having been here before, gazing at the window to the closet. I climb into bed and lay my head on the pillow. It has been a long day for me and lying here in the dark, I cannot remember everything I did since I last slept. Starting another journey into the window, I remind myself this will not be a dream. This is real and what I am about to discover is real.

My eyes become heavy, though still watching the window. I am happy and relaxed. My body seeps into the mattress while my mind focuses on the closet. Slipping into a quiet slumber, my soul is sucked through the window and into the closet like a vacuum, pulling me from the confines of my bed. I envision my sheets flittering about in my absence. I am safe and floating.

In complete darkness, I feel a familiar presence again. It’s there in all my nightly journeys. I cannot see or feel, but my mind is alert. The presence beckons me and I follow, my mind free and at peace.

Something is different on this journey. I feel uneasy. Panic surfaces the further I follow this presence into the closet. Somewhat nostalgic, but the panic escalates. I feel something cold and I reach out, grabbing at the darkness, searching for the familiar presence. Then, there is the smell of burnt hair.

I open my eyes and remember. The excruciating pain forces memories of the accident. I am badly burned, probably disfigured. I see my husband. He is weeping. He sees I’m alert and approaches me in haste, “It’s going to be fine, and everything is going to be fine.” His eyes are swollen and red, but he doesn’t look at me. He reaches for the one hand of mine which is not bandaged.

I struggle to scream out for the doctors to let me die, watching the stern nurse come toward me, syringe in hand. How many days has it been? Four, five? If she gives me another shot, I’ll come back again, to this hellish nightmare. I say to her, “No more.” My lips could barely move through the tightly wrapped bandages about my chin and jaw.

“It’s for the pain,” she insists. The stone-like features of her face contort into a look of dismay. I cry in agony, but nobody seems to hear me. How many times will I gaze upon the window, I wonder in despair, trying desperately to block out the pain eating me alive.

How many trips back to reality will I encounter before I die? I should have died in my sleep. The effects of the morphine cause me to drift off as the tears stinging my burned cheeks fade away.

The presence welcomes me back as I slip into the darkness, floating. I see my closet. There it is, just where I left it. I smile to myself and watch the window for a few minutes before getting out of bed to begin my day. What shall I discover on this glorious day?


This was the first story I ever wrote and it's from one of my creative writing classes. The instructor gave us one criteria. The title of your story must be The Window. So, here it is! Please let me know what you think. I enjoy feedback, good or bad. I'm just happy you got to stop by and see me.

24 June 2012

Blast From The Past NOLA!

You may know I recently celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary, or you may not...I did.

Are We There Yet? is a blog about making progress and I look at milestones as progress. Thus, my blog entry on this day deals with time and how we share it with the world.

It is about my time spent in a land devastated by hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Katrina is a pretty famous event and there's way much more important information out there than I wish to cover in this post. I was more fascinated by an older historical phenomenon, the New Orleans cemeteries and their spirits.

Guided Walking Tours

Not long after we arrived, I rang the local cemetery tour agencies. Above ground tombs and voodoo magic were two areas I wanted to explore. I didn't want to leave New Orleans without having had a tour through the cemeteries and learning about the history of the people and how they buried loved ones, especially during epidemic onslaughts of yellow fever.

A two hour guided tour is well worth your time and dollar. It would have been boring taking a stroll through the beautiful cemeteries in New Orleans without the stories behind the variety of weather beaten tombstones marked with date ranges spanning the late 1700s to as early as the year 2011.

At first glance, these tombstones appear to be less efficient than what we're used to in the more modern graveyards of the south, but New Orleans requires a unique process in dealing with the deceased. There are more than a handful of bodies represented by each of these marked tombs, even some with more than one family.

Each body entering a family tomb is encased in a pine box and stored within the chambers for one year and a day, at which point the body is removed, compacted into a smaller container, and pushed to the back of the tomb, where it is then dropped into a lower chamber to further decompose with the rest of the decaying bodies similarly disposed in prior years.

We enjoyed two tours in the cemeteries of New Orleans. We visited the Lafayette Cemetery with the Ghost and Legends Tour and the St. Louis Cemetery with the Spirit Tours of New Orleans. I enjoyed both because they each had a spirit all their own, St. Louis Cemetery being the older of the two.

We even passed Nicolas Cage's tomb which he purchased in 2010. The picture to the left is the pyramid where he will rest one day. I can't imagine them storing his body here and then after a year, removing it and crushing it down to fit into a tiny box. I can hear the thud as his remains hit the bottom of the tomb. At least he'll be dry.

This is the architecture designed to work around areas where you may only be inches above sea level. When you think of it in that respect, this is unique to New Orleans and the reasoning for its design is fascinating.

The Garden District

Take this tour if you want to learn about the history of New Orleans and how the years between the early settlements and the wars and conflicts influenced the architecture and culture developed from the French Quarters (party time!) and the Garden District (affluent area).

This is a house which is said to be haunted. The spirits of those from the past still live here and you can actually feel their presence while walking around in the Garden District of New Orleans. It's as if jazz music, laughter and party goers linger, providing an undying spirit and ambiance.

The French Quarter District

Wall view in the voodoo temple of Marie Laveau
Take this tour if you are interested in the older historical tales which carry into the Voodoo culture and touch on a more traditional background of events behind the scenes in New Orleans.

This one ended with an actual walk-through of the Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo  personal temple, owner Priestess Miriam. I took plenty of pictures, but most turned out a little blurry because it was dark and camera flashes were not permitted. This is a painting which lay to the back, tucked away from the various shrines and displays.

20 June 2012

How We Met Blog Hop

I'm participating in Melinda Dozier's How We Met Blog Hop! Head on over and sign up. It doesn't start until June 30th (their anniversary). My anniversary was June 12th so I decided to post mine just a little earlier! I also broke the 100 word maximum rule.  Oops, what did you expect from a passionate writer?

So...How DID we meet?

He was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. I worked for my mother at The Rice Bowl Restaurant & Lounge. He used to come in for takeout every now and again. I didn't much care for him. I thought he was a little stuck up because he would come in, order food, drink one beer, and then leave. I don't even recall if he was a great tipper.

He would always talk to my mom. He was really nice to her, but no one else. Then one day he mentioned fishing.

My mother said, "What do you do with all the fish you catch?"

"We let them go," he said.

"No, don't let them go anymore. You bring them to me and I'll make you sushi." 

My mother didn't sell sushi in her restaurant because it was too expensive to keep freshly stored and we didn't have enough customers to keep the spoilage down. It was too much hassle for what it was worth.

So then he started coming in more often, bringing my mother fresh grouper and tuna, which she happily prepared for him and served on a bed of thinly shredded cabbage with a dab of wasabi mustard on the side. I didn't understand why my mother was so thrilled that this man would bring her fish and let her prepare sushi for him. He would just sit there, eat his food and have conversations with my mother while I sat there waiting for him to ask me for another beer.

"Diane, you should get him another beer. No charge his ticket, it's on me."


Something was unsettling about him and I didn't know what it was, until the day I discovered who he was.

"So what's your MOS, marine?" Another customer asked him.

"I'm a CID agent."

"Ah, one of them." The customer dropped the questioning shortly after, and via my great communications skills, I learned the following: MOS was an acronym for Military Occupational Specialty and CID was an acronym for Criminal Investigations Division.

Mind you, at the time, I had access to the military base commissary, which means low cost, tax free, produce/meats. Being that we were a restaurant, what better place to conduct a black marketing sting operation, right? He was spying on me and my family! He'd been watching us, following us to see if we were utilizing the military facility to make unauthorized purchases for the purpose of redistribution for profit!

I was weary for weeks and I spent countless days and nights in a cold sweat over the whole conspiracy.

"Don't be silly, Diane." My mom tried to tell me what a great guy he was and that I should be lucky to find a man like him.

It took several weeks to rid myself of the paranoia to the point I could even like the man, but when I did start to like him, I really started to like him. Then, after getting to know him, I told him what I'd originally thought, that he was investigating me for black marketing.

He laughed and said, "We don't go looking for work. We have enough work investigating crimes we know about."

He laughed at me and laughed at me. Then he laughed at me some more. As a matter of fact, he laughed at me so much that I started to hate him again.

Alright, so I've always had this grandiose notion that I was somehow important enough for any number of shenanigans going on around me, but I sure as hell didn't need to be laughed at for it!

I got over it soon enough. I think he fell in love with me because I was that entertaining. I fell in love with him because he grounded me, which is something I desperately needed (and still do). Later, after we were married for several years, my mother would tell us that she was so thrilled because she knew she'd found the perfect match for her daughter, and she did.

June 12th of this year was our 25th wedding anniversary. So in celebration, I'm sharing some older photographs as well as an updated one we had taken while on our anniversary this past June.

This is me in  May of 1988, almost a year after we got married. 

Tim and our son, Cameron. This was around October 1989. Cameron was almost 1 years old.

This is Tim and me with Chelsey, Cameron and my late Grandmother.

June 2012, celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary!

If you are unable to participate, please share with us how you met your significant other. Just leave it in the comments below!

11 June 2012

The Triple B Caption Contest

I took this photograph while visiting the Butterfly House at Brookgreen Gardens in Myrtle Beach, SC. It sort of reminded me about a book which I'm currently reading called Bullies, Bastards and Bitches by Jessica Morrell.

When I snapped the photo, I didn't realize there was this little fella sharing the leaf with the object of my camera lens. Imagine my surprise when I uploaded my digital files to my computer for editing.

Inspired by my new discovery, I decided to hold a caption contest. The winner will receive a $25.00 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and I will update this photograph with the winning caption the first week of July and repost it.

Please leave your captions in the comments below with an email address where you can be reached should your entry become the winner of this challenge. You should disguise your email address like so: diane-carlisle at comcast dot net. I'll know what you mean!

And the winner is...Deb Claxton! Congrats, Deb. Please email me when you receive your gift certificate.

09 June 2012

Combat The Roaches - World at War

It’s time for June's Absolute Write monthly blog chain. The theme is “Weird Worlds” and so I give you a creative non-fiction piece dedicated to one of the longest living species in our modern day world. I introduce this piece for the weird worlds theme.

World at War - Cockroaches 

Roaches are fascinating creatures, not only because they've lived for billions of years, but because they have perfected the process of infestation. They invade the sanctity of your home with their filth, seeking water sources and leeching food from any crack or crevice they can find. The only purpose they serve is to multiply their army in order to fuel their survival in your space, the same space where you bathe, eat, and sleep.

Their presence destroys all comforts you enjoy in your home. They are worse than your in-laws. Extended family will eventually leave, but these creatures will grow their colony and destroy you and your peace of mind.

They crawl around in their protective gear while infecting the surfaces of your appliances and countertops with their disease causing dander. Forget that you spend countless hours cleaning and disinfecting your home. They scurry about in the dark, undetected, so they may flourish in numbers.

They leave their droppings behind as if to alert their comrades of the paths to food and water once the lights go out. Leave it to these lower forms of life to find those intricate areas key to their survival.

They lurk behind appliances, antennae whisking about as if sniffing the air for signs of sustenance. Not only have they invaded your home, when you turn on the lights to confront them, they quickly gather their comrades, small and large, and flee to their bunkers deep within your walls. You don’t feel safe anymore. Your security has been breached by this uncanny assault.

You don't want to destroy your home, so the weapons of choice are roach mines. You leave them in various locations close to areas where you suspect they have taken cover. When the lights go out, the greedy crawlers will seek out these disguised sources of food. They are unaware it is actually poison… the dumbasses. Intellect isn't what's kept them flourishing for many years.

Soon you start to feel safe again because you stop seeing them. You get this feeling you beat them...you won. The army shrinks quickly because roaches are cannibals that eat their own dead, even poisoned ones. The poison remains in the carcasses so then the cannibalism creates this domino effect and they die off by the hundreds.

Two months later, after no more sightings, you walk into your pristine kitchen in search of some fresh fruit and a glass of milk. From your peripheral view, a quick movement on your countertop reveals the emergence of one of their beady-eyed scouts. This makes you want to spoon-feed it some liquid poison and wait five minutes until it twitches its way onto its back, fluttering its legs about in a desperate attempt to expel the poison from its body.

Now you must destroy your home. You haven't won at all. Time to break out the weapons of mass destruction…the roach bombs. Get ready to obliterate the enemy, but be equally prepared to leave your home for hours while the lethal chemicals dissipate.

Later, you will discover every inch of your home covered in a film of noxious residue which needs to be cleaned and disinfected. Then you wonder how many days you will wait to do it all over again because of the roach eggs left behind…they will eventually hatch and grow yet another army.

Please visit these other participating bloggers and their "weird world" entries:

dclary (comic) - (link to this month's image)
orion_mk3 - (link to this month's post)
Proach - (link to this month's post)
pyrosama - (YOU ARE HERE)
areteus - (link to this month's post)
MelodySRV - (link to this month's post)
Diana_Rajchel - (link to this month's post)
writingismypassion - (link to this month's post)
randi.lee - (link to this month's post)
magicmint - (link to this month's post)
AFord - (link to this month's post)
Sweetwheat - (link to this month's post)
Nick Rolynd - (link to this month's post)
Viclit (link to this month's post)
dclary (blog) - (link to this month's post)

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