Who is Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry?

I’ve been missing my friends at Carrot Ranch, so when D. Avery, suggested we define our blog’s purpose, I considered it a worthy goal. What a brilliant idea! Okay, here we go:

“Yep. Folks, try defining yer blog’s purpose in 99 words; focus that statement even more in 59 words; then hook us with 9 words. Ya might even post these versions at yer own site. Tell us who ya are or what yer about here in the comments, 9 words, no more no less.”

Saddle Up Saloon; Blog Blusterin’

Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry

99 words:

Word Craft – Prose & Poetry is an uplifting community where poets can learn the basics of writing Japanese and American syllabic poetry by sharing their own poetic inspiration within a weekly poetry challenge called Tanka Tuesday. Participants submit their poetry written in one of the eleven forms: Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyohka, Haibun, Tanka Prose, Cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, Nonet, and/or Shadorma. Poets receive positive feedback from peers who inspire each other to stretch their creativity. Participants and readers return each week to celebrate the weekly poetry stars and to buy books from the Tanka Tuesday Book Store.

59 words:

Word Craft – Prose & Poetry is a poetic community encouraged by Colleen Chesebro where poets learn the basics of writing Japanese and American syllabic poetry through a weekly challenge called Tanka Tuesday. Participants submit their poetry written in one of the eleven forms: Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyohka, Haibun, Tanka Prose, Cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, Nonet, and/or Shadorma.

9 words:

A weekly challenge featuring American and Japanese syllabic poetry.

Interested? Click the link below to learn more about Tanka Tuesday

The Elf Killer – Part III: The Witch of Timmoral Forest

Check out Melissa Barker Simpson’s blog to learn more about the challenge.

I chose Option 1: Sentence Starter –

The first time I died, I was nineteen years old and resigned to my fate; the second time was a different story.

I am continuing the story of the Elf Killer, using the prompts from Mel’s challenge. This is a free writing time for me and allows me to experiment with different genres and characters. I am letting my true pantser out once again! I hope you all enjoy.

Here is Part One of the Elf Killer

Here is Part Two of the Elf Killer

As the darkness arrived in Timmoral Forest, Nedra the Witch watched the shadows grow long and deep as they descended and grew from the tall stature of the trees surrounding the glen. Conjuring her deepest magic she had materialized outside the cave she called home on the edge of the forest in order to safely escape from Rawmall, the half-breed elf.

Nedra paced back and forth in front of the door to her cave thinking of what her next move should be. Damn, Rawmall! That half-breed elf makes my blood boil, she thought. She didn’t need to take any more chances around him. His power over her was purely physical. Nedra wanted him in the worst way. If she succumbed to his charms, she would lose everything, again. Death was much too high a price to pay for a sexual tryst with a half-breed elf at this point. Not yet, anyway.

The night birds cooed above in the leafy canopy of the trees. The sounds of small scurrying animals were heard rustling in the dense carpet of leaves beneath her feet. Stars appeared in the night sky. Nedra slipped silently inside her shadowy cave while the ebony whispers of her gown flowed behind her. The low burning fire beckoned to her while the coals brought a warmth to the coldness of her body.

Nedra stoked the fire with a wave of her hand. Suddenly, another huge flame burst from her palm and glowed with a lavender intensity. Concentrating her thoughts, Nedra watched the blaze of her lust slowly burn to the size of a candle flame. Slowly the flame turned into particles of dust filtering through her fingers.

Nedra stared at the grains of sand and remembered. The first time I died, I was nineteen years old and resigned to my fate; the second time was a different story.

Nedra belonged to a coven of witches that like the dark cats they idolized, had nine lives. It was a certain kind of immortality if handled with the utmost of care. That meant following the rules, something Nedra had always struggled with. If certain urges were controlled, the witches could live long lives while meddling in the existence of others for their own pleasure. It was a blissfully wicked existence.

Impatiently, Nedra tapped her blood-red nails on the chalice she drank deeply from while memories swirled around in the dark recesses of her mind. Losing her first life had been careless on her part. At nineteen, she was too young to know that she had to overpower her thoughts of lust and greed. The Warlock had taken her life force quickly. Nedra had simply vanished in a puff of black smoke.

The dark headed human had been her downfall the second time she lost her life. She had bewitched him into giving her all of his wealth and power. However, once again Nedra had been too young to know that she should never trust a human. He had ended her life by thrusting a sword into her heart as she had fled his grasp taking his riches with her.

Eventually, true to Nedra’s powers, the human found himself a pauper and banished from his mortal kingdom. Madness had propelled the man to cross over into Timmoral Forest where the elven colony had flourished since the beginning of time. Visions of Nedra caused the man to view the world through a mist of red blood. Hatred became his life force.

Once Nedra’s life balance of seven lives had been restored, she cast a spell to bring herself back to Timmoral Forest. This time, she was determined to track the dark-haired human and take his life to pay for the untimely death he had taken from her.

Nedra smiled, remembering how she watched the human butcher the blue haired elf. The human was truly insane. She knew this would be her last chance to possess his soul once more. His life energy would give her the knowledge of the humans. She would become stronger with each soul her darkness absorbed.

She followed the human to the elven community of Morr. It was there she cast a spell on the elves hiding them in the darkest part of the forest as she watched the human burn their small community to the ground. The dark-haired human had never seen her coming.

He got what he deserved, Nedra thought, relishing the memory of the dark-haired human boiling in the caldron at Morr. It had worked. The trap had been set. Rawmall had come seeking the elf killer. Soon Nedra would get what she truly desired, Rawmall the half-breed elf.

776 Words.

Thanks for stopping by,

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Freestyle Writing Challenge – Food For Thought

Thank you, Ali Taylor, from The Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman! For choosing me to participate in the Freestyle Writing Challenge, where I am to:

“Choose FIVE of my favourite types of food/drink (can be meals, snacks, whatever grabs you!) – And bring them to succulent life for your readers. Can be serious, funny, sensual, extended metaphor…”

 

Thick red Angus steaks marbled with just the right amount of pale white streaks of fat sit on a plate, ready to be added to the grill. They sizzle as the charcoal flames lick the underside of the beef. The heady aroma of beef cooking on a charcoal grill fills the neighborhood.

Freshly scrubbed Idaho baking potatoes are pricked to release the steam. The oven toasts their skins to a crispy brown while inside the white potato is tender and flakey. Fat yellow slabs of butter are slipped inside the hot potato skins. Steam rises from the slash in the potato. Green chives are cut and added to the top of the vegetable. Butter oozes from the sides of the potatoes.

I fill a salad bowl with dark emerald green spinach leaves. Green kale is added for texture. Red onion, hot and sweet, is chopped and added to the top of the salad. Pumpkin colored carrot sticks are added to the mixture. Ruby red tomatoes are sliced. The juice and seeds drip from my hands, as I add them to the bowl. A rich green cucumber is sliced and de-seeded. This I place on the top of the salad. Fragrant vinegar is added along with a few tablespoons of pale amber olive oil. I stir the salad to mix the vegetables, so that the flavors have time to mingle.

I retrieve a bottle of pale white Moscato wine from my refrigerator. I uncork the wine and smell the fruity aroma of this particular vintage. I let the wine sit and breathe for a bit. Then I slowly pour the wine into my glass and sip the crisp sweetness which is tart on my tongue. I inhale the fragrance and close my eyes, savoring the wine on my tongue.

The Dessert of the Gods are exquisite delicacies filled with the sweetness of sugar, honey, and just a touch of cinnamon. These succulent jewels drip with deep rich chocolate and caramel drizzle. Coconut shreds are sprinkled throughout the opulent dough creating a luscious gooey brownie.

15 minutes: 343 words (I am a slow writer… what do you do?)J

I would like to invite the following five bloggers to participate in this challenge: Melissa Barker-Simpson, Wendy Anne Darling, Mark Bialczak, Elisha Neubauer, and Terri Webster-Schrandt.

These are the rules:

1. Open an MS Word Document

2. Set a stopwatch or your mobile phone timer to 5, 10, or 15 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.

3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!

4. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you start writing do not stop.

5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it’s only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules).

6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.

7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.

8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).

My new topic for you to write about is to:

“Describe your perfect fantasy world so that we all want to live there.”


Thanks for stopping by. I will see you again!

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The Bus Stop

One of the great things about writing a lifestyle blog when you have retired is that you also have many memories to share.  It is another hot, humid day in my garden so I thought some story-telling might be in order…

The Bus Stop is a story my husband told me years ago about his time in the Air Force when he was stationed in Thailand.  The Vietnam War was raging all around him. He was in his early 20’s, trying to make sense of the whole war thing.  This is one of my first creative writing projects and I would appreciate feed back.  I decided to tell the story from his point of view.  Please CAUTION… there is some profanity.

 

Thailand_JOakley_01

(Map of Thailand, from http://jacquioakley.com/thailand-map)

*  *  *

It was 0500 hours as I started my walk to the bus stop. The air was cool by Thailand standards, only about 75 degrees, and the dirt road through Korat Village was dusty under my combat boots. I glanced cautiously around me, always wary of who might be about. I found myself that December of 1971, a sergeant serving in the U. S. Air Force, stationed at Korat Air Force Base, Thailand. The Vietnam War was still rearing its ugly head, and I was a crew chief working Transit Alert on the base. Every jet that flew sorties, I serviced and sent on its way to perform its required missions. I was there to do a job, and for no other reason than to serve my country.

Every morning, I took the bus from the village to the base and then back again each night. In good weather, the ride took about twenty minutes. There were no other people on the road that morning. The surrounding jungle was quiet and dark. It was strangely silent, and I did not even hear the insistent chattering from the monkeys. I could see the bus stop ahead. It was a roughly constructed bench with a bamboo top covered with banana leaves. The sides were enclosed, and during the rainy season, the bus stop was adequate to keep the rain and wind out. The enclosure was large enough to accommodate five or six people and would even shelter pigs or chickens if need be. Mostly, it just kept the sun off your head.

I looked around again and found it strange that there were no locals in the area. Our military superiors told us to be extra careful when living in the village because you could not tell who your enemies were. Saboteurs were everywhere and the Viet Cong traveled freely between the borders. Just last week, a sergeant had been stabbed in the village, and he did not survive. I was not taking any chances, and I watched where I was at constantly. I even sat facing the door whenever I was in restaurants and bars so I could always see what was going on at all times. I trusted no one.

I strolled into the bus stop enclosure and there, crouched in the shadows in the back corner, was an old man. Stooped in the classic flat-footed Thai squat position, he looked to be about forty-five or fifty years old, which is old for a Thai. He had almost no hair on his head and had a leathery wrinkled face. He was barefoot and wore a white silk shirt. His sarong was pulled up between his legs and tucked in, which was the customary garb for elderly men. I noticed that he did not have a walking stick with him. For someone of his age this was highly unusual, and I felt myself hesitate in the doorway. The old man did not move, and he continued to watch me with those sharp, clear eyes.

I was startled and felt my breath catch in my throat. My heart pounded, and I looked around for any other signs of human life. There was no one in the area of the bus stop in either direction. The old man continued to stare at me with that keen gaze, and our eyes locked. He spoke to me in his native Thai and said, “Sawae dee dong chow.” I was afraid and defiantly called out to him in English, saying, “Fuck you old man!” I then gave him “the finger,” which was my feeble American attempt to intimidate him.

The old man still did not move. He just sat on his heels looking at me with those sharp eyes, taking in every detail about me. In my alarm, I did not hear the bus coming, and it suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I actually smelled the bus before I heard it, and I swung myself onto the ancient vehicle filled with farmers heading to the local market on the way to Korat Air Force Base. Old women with teeth stained black by beetle nut spit red juice at my feet as I walked down the aisle looking for a seat. Chickens in cages and pigs strapped to the back end of the bus started to squeal and squawk as the bus slowly pulled away from the bus stop. I continued to stand on the bus, swaying back and forth while the rhythm calmed my heartbeat. I began to breath normally again. I looked all around for the old man, but he was still back there in the bus stop enclosure. He had not boarded the bus. We lumbered along in the bus, and I was safely dropped at the front gate to the base.

I worked with Thai civilians in Transit Alert at the base, and since I was still shook up from my incident at the bus stop, I knew they could help me understand what the old man was up to. The cultural differences between the Thai people and I were extreme. The majority of them lived in huts on stilts with their livestock sheltered underneath. They were farmers and lived off the land. In comparison, I had grown up in Southern California in an upper middle class neighborhood where I had been drafted by the Twins Baseball Club right out of high school. I pitched for them for two years before Vietnam came along. I knew nothing of cultural differences. I knew baseball and airplanes, and not much else.

My Thai civilian friends liked that I wanted to know about their culture. Their English was good enough that we could communicate and understand each other. I told them of the incident at the bus stop, and they asked me to repeat what the old man had said to me in their language. I told them that he had said, “Sawae dee dong chow.” I also told them how terrified I had been to see that old man crouching in the shadows at the bus stop. I explained to them that I did not know if he was going to jump out and stab me, or what was going to happen! I had been in fear for my life.

It was quiet for a moment as the Thai men looked at each other and then again at me. Their brown faces crinkled and their slanted eyes seemed to disappear in their faces from laughter! They pointed at me and held their sides as they laughed. I was incredulous! I could not believe they were laughing at my predicament. I had been scared, and they found this funny. Finally, Lang, who was clearly the elder in this group of men, wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes and explained that all the old man had said was, “Hello, good morning!”

I was appalled that I had not read the situation correctly. I had not been raised to treat people in this way, but war made me look at life differently, and I was afraid of what I had become. I knew then that if I was to survive in Thailand, or anywhere else, I needed to learn the language and the customs of the people so that I would not have misunderstandings like this again. I knew that I must never judge people based on my fears alone. I felt terrible and knew I had to make amends to the old man.

Lang taught me some of the Thai customs, and he explained that it showed proper respect to bow and fold your hands, as if you were in prayer, when you met people that you did not know in Thailand. He suggested that if I saw the old man again, I should bow and say the same thing to him that he had said to me, “Sawae dee dong chow.” That showed proper respect and was simply the nice thing to do.

The next morning at 0500 hours, I started out on the road to the bus stop much the same as I had the day before. Still cautious, I looked around and surveyed the road ahead. I was still guarded but kept my wits about me. Little dust devils swirled under my combat boots as I trod along the road. There were no locals visible again today, and I could see the bus stop up ahead. It looked the same as it had the day before. The dried banana leaves on the roof rustled in the light breeze. I approached the enclosure slowly and glanced inside. There in the shadowy recesses, just as before, crouched the old man.

I approached him with a smile on my face and bowed low to the ground, and said in my best Thai, “Sawae dee dong chow.” He looked at me with those sharp eyes and said in understandable English, “FUCK YOU!” and then he promptly gave me “the finger!” He smiled at me and I watched his brown eyes disappear in the creases of his face.

old-ubon-bus-2

(Image from “Family Life in Rural Thailand and Australia,” http://www.memock.com/tag/history-of-ubon-ratchathani/) – A bus similar to the one my husband rode back in 1971.