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Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Reading 166

Currently reading:

And When She Was Good by Laura Lippmann

Heloise has been running a successful escort service for more than a decade but her past is starting to catch up with her.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice wakes up on the floor of a gym thinking she's still 29, happily married and pregnant with her first child but she's actually 39, has three children and is going through a bitter divorce.

Twenties Girl: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella

Lara is haunted by the ghost of her great-aunt Sadie, who cannot rest until she finds her missing necklace.





Saturday, December 1, 2012

Centus 136

Macy was a woman of definite opinions. Always figured quite prominently in her speech and so did never. Backing down was not an option as a matter of principle, yet under that frank gaze she found herself wavering.

Was it just last week she had been telling Leslie, that any man over 40 who hadn't been in a serious relationship before was most definitely a bad idea? How on earth did she now find herself in dire straits of maybe?

Adam placed a light hand on her shoulder. "Well, what do you think?" Macy felt herself blush as she smiled. "I think lunch would be wonderful."


Jenny Matlock

Friday, November 30, 2012

100 Words - listening

"I want Jenny."
The woman blinked up from her monitor with a questioning look.
"You're aware she's a little older?"
Actually Jenny was around his age but this wasn't what men usually wanted there.
"Yeah, that's ok."
"Well, she'll be with you in a bit."

It had occurred to him while waiting in line to punch clock. Out of the fifteen people ahead of him, twelve were playing with their smartphone. Nobody was really listening to anyone anymore and the last thing he needed was some young hooker checking out her favorite app while he tried having a good time.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

100 Words - Remains of the day

He couldn't go home now, not with a police car waiting for him there again. Jakob shivered. Darkness quickly gobbled up the remains of the day, leaving him hungry and cold. No, he couldn't go home. His parents would kill him.

"Our door is always open", the neighbor across the street had said after she found him drunk and beaten up on the side walk. She had looked at him worriedly, quite piercingly when she said that. He ignored her. There was no such thing as a trustworthy adult.

The neighbor's lights flickered on. He started walking down the hill.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Z is for Zen

In days gone by, Zen master Hui Chueh, had a disciple who called on him for instruction. The master taught her to examine the sentence: "Take no notice."

She followed his instruction strictly without backsliding. One day her house caught fire, but she said: "Take no notice." Another day, her son fell into the water and when a bystander called her, she said: "Take no notice."

She observed exactly her master's instruction by laying down all casual thoughts.

One day, while cooking, she threw into the pan full of hot oil a batter which made a noise. Upon hearing the noise, she was instantly enlightened. She threw the pan of oil on the ground, clapped her hands and laughed. Thinking she was insane, her husband scolded her and said: "Why did you do this? Are you mad?"

She replied: "Take no notice."

Then she went to the master Hui Chueh and asked him to verify her achievement. The master confirmed that she had obtained the holy fruit.

****


A friend who heard this story was worried. "Does this mean she just let her child drown?", she asked anxiously. It doesn't say but I don't think so. I think she went about the business of saving him without allowing the situation to get to her emotionally and mentally.

Jenny Matlock

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Reading 163

I'm still a little sad that I missed the start of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo but I've been reading, A LOT. Here's a few books I'm currently reading now:

 Bitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass,Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster

I like my fiction with a fair dose of realism. Better yet, reality with a dose of fiction, but that's something few authors can pull off, mostly because they're afraid of offending someone. Jen can and it works because she makes fun of herself first and foremost. This one makes the Shopaholic Series look like a 5th grader's story, why hasn't it been filmed yet?! I'll be looking out for the rest of her books.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini 

This is a great book for those who want to know why they end up saying yes when they really want to say no. Apparently it's a common problem and not exclusively reserved to me. Who knew!

Also reading:

 A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins

It's one of these books that will never age. In the 70s, the US economy was about as bad as now. Peter, then a fresh divorced graduate, felt the country didn't have anything positive to offer anymore and that he would be better off migrating somewhere else. A janitor convinces him to check out America before he turns his back on it, which he does. The result is a very engaging, inspiring book that renews a person's love with the country and its people.


Friday, July 13, 2012

H is for Hope

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
Dale Carnegie

The ninety and nine are with dreams content; but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true.
Edgar Allan Poe

If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.
Henry Ford

Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.
Henry Miller

Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.
Leonardo da Vinci

Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you.
Ogden Nash

Jenny Matlock

Monday, July 9, 2012

Nothing

I should be writing! Instead I've been reading about zen.

There was always a tentative interest because it seems like one of those things you can ponder for yourself and I like DIY projects. But after all the stress I had lately I decided it's time to give it a more in depth study. Maybe it's something for me, maybe not. Or maybe just some of it. Time will tell.

I already completed an exercise.


Exercise 1: Do Nothing
Find a situation that is troubling you and that you have been trying
to work out. Think about it and Do Nothing. Think about it
again, and Do Nothing again. Stop all unnecessary activity,
thoughts, and machinations. Take a walk at the beach (or anywhere
that is relaxing to you), enjoy the moment—then think
about the situation. Still Do Nothing at all. Keep walking, keep
enjoying.
When this situation actually appears in your life, continue to
Do Nothing. After about a week of this, notice the changes that
have taken place without your interfering at all.

from Zen Miracles

Saturday, July 7, 2012

G is for Growing

Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance (...) in this particular instance, it was the best thing for Oliver Twist that could by possibility have occurred.
The fact is, that there was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of respiration (...)
Now, if, during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and indubitably have been killed in no time.
There being nobody (...) Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them.
The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish...

Charles Dickens - OLIVER TWIST

That pretty much sums up the secret of parenting, growing plants or tending animals. Don't do any more than you have to do. And, sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing.



Jenny Matlock

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mag 123

"It's almost midnight", said Johnny. "lets have a break here. The delivery can wait."
Tom nodded.

The two men got out of the gleaming Durant and walked over to a park bench. A dark green bottle and a pack of cigarettes were produced without delay. Minutes passed. Somewhere further off they heard a group of people sing.

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We'll take a cup o'kindness yet
For auld lang syne


Tom smiled at the sound of clapping and cheers.

"Happy 1930, Johnny."

An obviously drunk couple walked by, waving. "Happy New Year, fellas!"

"I don't get it", said Johnny. "For centuries women wouldn't even show their ankles and now you can see right up to their underwear. What the hell happened?"

Tom giggled. "You slay me, Johnny. Who cares? I like it. As long as it's not a chubby dame like Suz from the Alley Cat."

He was down on the ground before he even knew what happened. Johnny towered over him looking dreadful.

"That's MRS. Parks to you." He seemed ready to throw another punch when suddenly he grinned. "And for your information, I like her chubby. Now lets go."


That was a Mag post.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eureka

"I think we should leave now", said Lori, her voice shaking. "He'll be waking up soon."

"Just a few more minutes. Did you check the cupboard over there?"

The sister-in-laws continued their search in oppressive silence until, finally, Marsha yelped.

"Eureka!", she said between clenched teeth.

Lori came over, her eyes huge with fear. "What?", she whispered.

"His second cellphone of course!" Marsha experienced fingers flew through the menu.

"Oh my God!" Lori grasped a nearby chair to steady herself. The baby in her belly kicked.

"Her name is Shelby," Marsha stuck the phone under her nose. "Do you know her?"

Lori felt the blood drain from her face. For a couple of moments she could only stare dumbly.

"That's the mother of my daughter's best friend", she said finally.

"What are you going to do?"

Lori gulped a deep breath and straightened her shoulders.

"Well", she looked at Marsha calmly now, "I guess I'm gonna have to call Mitch."

"Your boyfriend from high-school?"

"He's a lawyer now, they tell me." Her eyes narrowed into small slits. "A really good lawyer."

That was a Sunday Scribblings post.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Centus 112



On a warm October day the truancy officers came a calling.
"A hundred fifty boys skipped school this Tuesday", they deplored. "You have to do something! They are out in the country beating hickory nuts off the trees, chasing squirrels and having all kinds of fun!"

"It's an amusing little whine", said Probation Officer Dilgard, "but I'm not going to do anything. We have no place but the county jail to put these boys in and I'm too much of a kid myself to put any boy in jail for going hickory-nutting."

Jenny Matlock

Friday, June 22, 2012

Active Voice


Joe Arbuckle saw Stephen Pickett, the contractor, walk into the Lyceum with about a dozen bright-eyed boys in tow. Sensing a story he quickly crossed the street.

"Hey Pickett, I didn't know you had so many nephews."

Pickett smiled broadly. "I don't. Loitering boys cause most of our construction damage and I worried a lot about that until a crazy idea possessed me. I asked these boys to keep a close watch on our current project and I promised them an evening at the theater. It worked! We've had no damage whatsoever!" He beamed. "I consider it a good investment."

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blue

Puddle, 1952, M. C. Escher
"So why are you here?"
The tired, prematurely gray-haired man looked at the floor for a few more minutes before answering.
"I don't know doc. I guess I've been feelin' blue. I know what I need to do but I've not much energy about nothing."
"You said you've been married a long time. Do you love your wife?"
The man clutched his hat and looked straight ahead. "Yes, doc. My family is the best thing that ever happened to me."
Doctor Wellis raised an eyebrow. Suddenly the silence became uncomfortable. The man began to squirm.
"Look", said the doctor."I could take your money, give you a tonic and send you on your way. But that wouldn't help you much would it?"
The man blushed. Finally he whispered. "No, doc."
"I can't help you out of your puddle if you won't be straight with me. Now tell me what you really want."
It took some time before the man could open his mouth. "I want to move back East. Back home. Build a hut somewhere lonesome, all by myself. Tend a garden." Suddenly his eyes watered. It took all his manly pride to keep those tears tucked in there.
Doctor Wellis continued to gaze the man unruffled. Then he started writing. The man received the prescription with only the slightest hint of a disappointment, until he read what was on the paper.
"Walk an hour a day?"
"Yes. If it gets too bad make it two hours. Come and see me in three months."

This is a Mag & Trifecta post.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Centus 111

The dowager was startled awake by a plop on the sofa. She reached for her monocle and peered closely at the unceremonious young woman who couldn't stop fanning herself.
"Enough dancing for tonight", declared the belle, "my feet are killing me."
"Is that you Miss Sophie?"
"Why yes it is, your Grace."
"Has it really been a decade since you've made your bow? Haven't you married that rascal Teddy yet?"
"Oh goodness no!"
"But he seems so devoted to you."
"Well you see, that's exactly it. I like having him devoted to me."

Jenny Matlock

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Parent

The sheriff's squad was busy preparing for the hanging of Clarence Sturgeon due at 9 am. It was nearly 8.15 when Joe Arbuckle finally managed to corner Charles Le Scholl himself.

"How was Sturgeon's last day?"
"Just like any other day really. Except for a short visit from his father."
"Was there any arguing?"
"Nope. Not at all. He just clapped the boy's shoulder, said that he was proud of him and...", the sheriff coughed and looked away, "and that he loved him."

The journalist stopped writing. "How can a parent be proud of his boy murdering three men in cold blood?", he asked with a certain amount of astonishment.

Charles Le Scholl ignored the question and went on. "Then the boy asked his father if he could bring some flowers to the grave of Miss Daisy Jackson."

Joe looked up again. "Who was she?"

"She was the young lady over whom the murder occurred", the sheriff looked at him meaningfully. "And who committed suicide."


This was a Sunday Scribblings post.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

D is for Disgusting


A couple of beers later, the two men were quietly puffing their cigars when the patrolman spoke up again.

"I've another one for you, Arbuckle", he said in a much lower voice. "But you can't print it."

Joe glanced at him sharply. "Why not?"

"Because it hasn't happened yet." O'Reilly was getting red-faced now. "You know Mrs. Barber don't you?"

The journalist smiled. "Of course I know Elaine", he took another deep puff. "She runs that confectionery store at St. Clair Street."

"Detective Carl is going to book her on Saturday for selling disgusting post cards."

"You're kidding me", Joe laughed. "Hasn't she been paying her dues?"

The patrolman shrugged. "It's election year. I guess they need something to show for it."


Jenny Matlock

Alley

"I have one for your paper, Arbuckle", said Patrolman O'Reilly.

The journalist perked up from his now empty glass of beer."You do?" He started patting the inside of his jacket for a notebook and pencil.

"I sure do. Found a man called Rasho Stefshonos beaten senseless in the alley near the market stalls. Three men snuck up on him, stole his money belt and his gold watch."

"How much did he have?", asked Joe looking considerably brighter now.

"Ninety three dollars."

Joe whistled. "Silly walking down that alley with so much money."

"He wanted to buy a horse", explained the patrolman. "He claimed that one of the trio was a countryman of his who heard him mention meeting the dealer."

Joe shook his head. "You can't be too careful in Toledo these days. So what did you do with Rasho?"

"Sent him with a hack to the Lagrange street station for tending. He wasn't fit to walk, for sure."

Joe nodded to the bartender. "Would you like another beer O'Reilly?"

This was a Trifecta post.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Costume

Fat Fanny barged in, yellow silk robes flowing.

"Here's your costume, kid."

"Thanks, Fan." I gave the French Maid dress a sniff and a shake. "I must ask Tricia how she got that stain out."

Fanny was already busy powdering her face. "Well, if you can believe her..." Snort. "The other day she was telling us, a regular paid $800 just to spend the evening with her."

I laughed.
"There was no hanky panky, Fan", she mimicked. "I'm a happily married woman."
"Yeah, right." I started putting on my garters.

"Don't forget tonight there's a 3-for-1 special", she said.
I groaned.

Fanny was curling her eyelashes. "Tell me about it. Back when I was starting out we'd never french a customer."

I sighed, frustrated. "You also didn't have this much competition then."

This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Centus 110

He took her wrinkled hand in his.

"But you could have had it all, Dorthy. All you had to do was ask."

"That wouldn't have been proper Jess. In sickness and in health, remember? I wasn't gonna leave a good man just because he couldn't work anymore."

"I shouldn't have gone to war", he repeated stubbornly.

"It's not like you had a choice in the matter."

"And...he's dead now?"

Dorthy pursed her lips. "Oh yes. Going five years now."

He looked at her hopefully. "Will you go to the dance with me tomorrow, Dorthy?"

She smiled. "Jess, what will the people say?"

"Darn the people."


Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

C is for Change

“Change will never happen when people lack the ability and courage to see themselves for who they are.” - Bryant H. McGill

“Everybody talks about wanting to change things and help and fix, but ultimately all you can do is fix yourself. And that's a lot. Because if you can fix yourself, it has a ripple effect.” -Rob Reiner

“One thing that Buddhism teaches you is that every moment is an opportunity to change.” - Ron Reagan

“Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything's different.” - Bill Watterson

“Faith... is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.” - C.S. Lewis

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” -Saul Bellow


Jenny Matlock

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New

image by Klaus Enrique Gerdes 

"I mean who spends $2000 for a jacket? The mind boggles."
No answer from Karen, just the sound of furious typing. Dani stared at her nails critically. Maybe she'd get a quick mani at LaShay's during lunch. Until then she could finish up that sales report or perhaps she would continue searching for a cute spring jacket on Ebay. Dani doubted the new assistant would notice.

A shrill yelp from the other room startled both women. Karen was there first. She turned on the light. All she could see was Monica hyperventilating. "Is everything ok?", she asked. Dani came in. "What's up?"

Monica pointed at a grotesque looking statue of fruit, flowers and vegetables with a trembling hand. "What on earth is that?!"

"I made it for the boss's birthday party tonight", said Dani in a slightly injured tone. "Why, what's wrong with it?"

This is a Mag & Trifecta post.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Not first time

"You started doing marathons because of a Stephen King novel?" The journalist stared.

It wasn't the first time an athlete claimed he had been inspired by a book but a thriller was hardly self-help material.


This was a Trifecta.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

B is for Bacon

Bacon is the new black. It goes with everything.

Burgers


Pancakes (and eggs)


with Spaghetti


and of course with Pizza


but for those of us who like to stand out there's also bacon adhesives, soap and gumballs.




not to mention "bacon soda"
and candles!









...
Jenny Matlock

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mag 119


Layla looked at Stacy gratefully.
"Thanks for the coffee. You're going?"
"Yes, I have a date with Nick at 7. You're doing overtime again?"
Layla nodded.
"Isn't it ironic? The only time an editor can edit is after work!"
"Yeah, and such crap too."
"Another one of those puerile novels?"
Layla didn't answer. She just rolled her eyes.
"Vampires again?"
"Worst. Kinky billionaire and the college student who reforms him."
"God, no! Didn't we stop writing these kind of stories at 16?"
"Maybe we should have kept them", said Layla grimly.


This was a Mag post.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Strange Bedfellows

The Texan woman pretended not to notice the Nigerian guy staring at her. She peeked at her watch for the fifth time. It was nearly 8.15 and there was no beemer to be seen anywhere.

Suddenly he spoke up. "Are you waiting for the driver too?"
Darla turned around and acknowledged him with a relieved smile. She nodded.

"I sent him a message. He'll be here soon", the man told her.

A long-haired couple with backpacks joined them. They all started talking.

"I'm Joseph. Where are you from?"
"I'm from Spain", said the young man holding a Robert Jordan book.
"Alberto was visiting me", explained the English girl. "He's going back home today."
"I'm flying to New York."
"My business is in Luxemburg."

A blue BMW finally pulled up next to them. The English girl gave Alberto one last kiss goodbye.

The strange bedfellows got in the car.


This is a Sunday Scribblings post.

Friday, May 25, 2012

At the Store

Stella ignored the pungent aroma of ripe strawberries and made a bee-line for the items on her list. On the way to checkout she passed by them again. She closed her eyes for a moment but could not block the soft, cultured store music. She had known she'd regret stopping by the most expensive super market in town but she was in a hurry.

She laid her items on the conveyor belt (a cucumber - not the organic kind, 2 frozen pizzas - on sale, potato wedges & fish sticks - store brand). The woman in front of her, with the shiny honey blond hair, wearing a freshly laundered beige suit and six-inch beige high-heels, had a pint of natural, organic yoghurt, a bunch of yellow, perfectly shaped bananas and yes, strawberries.

Stella's cell phone started ringing out the first chords of Take It Off.

The woman turned around and looked at Stella, taking in her grey hair roots, her baggy eyes, the wrinkly pink t-shirt and her faded jeans. She smirked.

"Hello?" said Stella timidly.

"Your boy made the honor-roll again", said the old voice. Pause. Stella could hear her grandmother lighting up one of her cigarettes. "Come on over, I've got strawberries." Click.

Stella fixed her eye on the register and began to add up the prices in her head, even though she was pretty sure she had enough money with her. She didn't notice the cashier's withering look. She was too busy smiling.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood