Monday, October 31, 2011

Chimney Smoking

After a DIY project re-fitting our chimney (“Chimney liner. What’s that?), we are up and running. Finally.

We’ve heated our 92 year old house with a wood stove for thirty some years. The money it saved in propane bills is enormous especially in a drafty house like ours.

But with harvest (done btw), we didn’t get the rest of the pipe up until Saturday. It’s been fifties and lower sixties in the living room but hey, that’s why we have blankets. And a cats.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Birth of a Novel

My crit partner and pearl of great price, Charity Bradford created a Nano blog chain with best buddy Elizabeth Poole.
“We decided that every Tuesday during the month of November, participants in the blog chain will post their updates. You can tell us about your novel, post excerpts, complain that all your characters are already dead and it's only chapter 11, whatever. Go wild.”

It is an aid to Nano, National Novel Writing Month, but should be of interest to any writer. No need to be a participant of Nano just gotta be a writer. And since you are reading this, you are qualified. LOL.

Go check it out and sign up. This business needs good people and Charity and Elizabeth are two of the finest.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Hop Blogfest

Scariest Movie of All

It has no CGI, massive blood loss, or chainsaws.

What it has is sound. A crash in the night, loud knocking, that trapped sensation, and human reactions. Of terror, horror, and madness.

It is The Haunting, the 1963 version of the novel by Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House.

The most chilling line comes after something begins banging on the bedroom door that Nell, the protagonist, shares with another woman. She reaches out to take the other woman’s hand as the crashing at the door continues, seeming to ebb, and then returning with an echoing boom.

Nell complains that the woman is crushing her hand. When the room falls silent, Nell sees the other woman isn’t close enough to have been the one holding her hand in the dark.

“God! God! Whose hand was I holding?”

Ms. Jackson wrote outstanding literature including The Lottery and The Daemon Lover. To mix it up, she also wrote Life Among the Savages, about raising kids in a old house, one of the most humorous books I’ve ever read.

What is your scariest movie?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

(True) Spooky Stories, Part II

The Scream

We stood at a juncture a ‘T’ in a hallway of an old building we were remodeling. The floors were a terrazzo stone pattern, mottled gray, and the walls newly painted ivory.

The building had stories of haunting, of dark-robed ladies gliding down the halls and of cold winds in the tunnels as if a specter had rushed by in a hurry.

But those were just stories and I shrugged them off. I loved them of course as I love any fiction but that was all.

As we talked that day at the T juncture, three others and I, a woman screamed.

Imagine a throat-tearing sound from a horror flick. Then place it in an empty building.

I flew down the hall that faced us. Without a doubt, the woman in trouble was right in front of me behind the closed door in the hallway. But when I jerked the door open, no one was there. Confused, I looked around and saw I was alone. None of my co-workers had followed.

All of us heard the scream and all of us reacted. For me, the sound came from the hallway directly in front. At the same time, two of my co-workers ran down the right hand hall sure the scream came from that direction.  But no one was there.

The other co-worker ran down the left hallway. Empty.

The four of us had occupied the same area. All of us heard the kind of scream that turns guts to water. All of us swore it came from a different area.

We found no one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Hop Blogfest

Suspense writer Jeremy Bates (oh, really. Like the motel??!) is sponsoring a cool event.

Scoot over and sign up. Looks like a ghoulish good time.

(True) Spooky Stories

Dumped. What a word to describe the end of a relationship. And just as I finished wrapping his Christmas gift in red foil paper. Too late to return it. No one wanted an engraved wristband with someone else’s name on it anyway.

A storm roiled the clouds over my house and miles away lightning stabbed the earth as I stood under the porch roof watching.

Relationships never worked out for me. They blew up at the worst times. Now, once again, I was alone. Anger mixed in equal measures with hurt.

Why can’t I find that special person, the one meant for me?

The desperate plea crushed me. I squeezed my eyes shut.

A flash of light clawed at my eyes then a blast of thunder followed by crackling. Like plastic scrunched together, a sure sign of a close lightning strike.

And then a voice inside my head.

*wait until spring*

Air left my lungs as I contemplated my sanity. And the tone of the still, quiet voice.

Five months later, daffodils were in bloom and college commencement invitations sent out when a strange man laughingly sprayed me with a water hose at a gas station.


We celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary next week.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Will Eat You

You can see where cartoon characters get their angst

This Massey is eleven years old and makes short work of a field of soybeans. Our red Chevy truck is a ’73 model and the white International (not pictured) is an old, gray bearded man to a mechanic. It was new in 1970, the last of our shade tree, repair-them-ourselves vehicles.

We begin our sixth week of harvest on Tuesday. It’s been a smooth run this year with little rain and no major breakdowns *cross fingers, knock on wood, spit over left shoulder, conduct burnt offering ceremony*

This week – the good Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise -- we’ll combine our last field of beans and put the equipment to bed.

Farming is business like any other. Difficult some days and life at its best on others. Early mornings, late nights. No different from a mother rising at 4 am to get the kids ready for school I think. Or the commuter braving a traffic jam and snarly boss.

Best thing about farming? No one tells me what to do. Let me reiterate -- No. One. Tells. Me. What. To. Do.

Independent much? Eh, a little.

Worst thing about living in the country? No pizza delivery.

Got any questions for me about farming? What we grow or how we grow it? Prices? Subsidies? (For the record, IMHO subsidies help the ‘big’ farmer get bigger and crowd out the small farmer)

It is a good life, a private life and a place where Fantasy rules.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I-Need-a-Joke Day

A farmer had five female pigs. Times were hard, so he took them to the county fair to sell. At the fair, he met another farmer who owned five male pigs. After talking a bit, they decided to mate the pigs and split everything 50/50. But since the farmers lived sixty miles apart, they agreed to drive thirty miles each, find an empty field, and let the pigs mate.

The first morning, the farmer with the female pigs got up at 5 A.M., loaded the pigs into the family station wagon, the only vehicle he had, and drove the thirty miles.

"How will I know if they are pregnant?” he asked the other farmer.

"If they're lying in the grass in the morning, they're pregnant. If they're in the mud, they're not.”

The next morning the pigs were rolling in the mud. So he hosed them off, loaded them into the station wagon, and drove the thirty miles to the empty field to try again.

This continued each morning for more than a week.

The next morning he was too tired to get out of bed.

"Honey,” the farmer said to his wife. “Please look outside and tell me whether the pigs are in the mud or in the grass."

"Neither,” yelled his wife. "They're in the station wagon and one of them is honking the horn."

Friday, October 14, 2011


I completely forgot about the Pay It Forward blogfest over at Matt MacNish's blog.


My apologies.
Head on over there and sign up. His site is the one amateur and experienced writers go to for superb crttering.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Heaven Came Down

“Is this heaven?”

“It’s Iowa.”

“Iowa. I could have sworn it was heaven.”– Field of Dreams

If I have a choice in the matter, October in Missouri will be my Heaven.

The colors of autumn, bronze and orange, butter-gold and green.

The breeze in the evening, cool with a tang unlike any other time of the year.

Halcyon skies are crystalline, the skies especially blue.

Cows bawl at feeding time.
Turkeys warble in the misty dawn.
Leaves tumble and wrestle, caught in a dust devil.

The bustle of combines and trucks, tractors and people.

Yellow corn hisses down the bed of a truck and into the jaws of the auger. Men hurry, cuss mightily at mechanical breakdowns, calls of ‘bring dinner to the field’.

Late nights. Early mornings.

Harvest. Of Time immortal.

Heaven came down
And Glory filled my soul.
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