Posted in #atozchallenge, Blog Hops and Fests, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, Blogging from A-Z April 2018, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, poetry, slices of life, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing prompts, Writing Sample

Marriage Metamorphized with Metastasis: #SoCS and #atozchallenge Day 13

Anywhere in Sickness

Monsters in the closet and under the bed

Monsters can lurk almost anywhere

Anywhere we imagine them with our fears

Anywhere in the body where they can grow rampant

Rampant cells divide and multiply and divide again

Rampant growth consuming what was healthy and strong

Strong as his body and strong as our mature love

Love that slew every monster that came

Love that wrapped us in armor of everyday magic

Magic that put wonder into simple things

Magic we counted on in our darkest days

Days with little money and worries to spare

Days when rainbows and birdsong filled our lives

Lives shared with happiness and sometimes frustration

Lives made richer when we two became one

One home one bed one path tread by four feet

One purpose in the life we shared

Shared coffee and meals and arguments and joys

Shared a little more than two decades

Decades more we thought we’d have

Decades to grow even and ever more

More life and more business to attend to

More tears to shed and living to do

Do the things needed to raise our kids well

Do what we needed to embrace our own dreams

Dreams postponed while the kids were small

Dreams that were taking on more concrete shape

Shape of a future we never will live

Shape of a tumor-monster that killed

Killed my husband of twenty years

Killed my children’s loving silly dad

Dad and husband strong and solid

Dad snuffed out by that greedy cancer

Cancer ever hungry could never get enough

Cancer swelled and sucked away energy

Energy and strength all given to the monster

Energy gone and marriage metamorphized

Metamorphized as the cancer metastasized

Metastasized from pancreas to liver

Metastasized with deadly speed

Speed of the change from being his partner

Speed of the change to become caretaker

Caretaker a job that I never expected

Caretaker a function I served as my honor

Honor the vow I took twenty long years ago

Honor the vow of in health and in sickness

Sickness that made of him a man in grave need

Sickness tended my final wifely service

Service

Need

 

I actually wrote this poem early in the day, but then had plans that kept me away most of the rest of the day. Now, though I’m feeling so tired it’s hard to type, I’m here, because I’ve made it before midnight all week, and don’t want to blow the streak…

Marriage changes when a spouse is terminally ill. The growing infirmity shifts the partnership relationship to one of caretaker and tended. When the disease progresses as swiftly as Jim’s did, the changes can come at a truly dizzying pace.

It was exhausting, often frustrating, and consumed my time much like caring for a newborn in reverse. It became, in the last couple of weeks, almost impossible to know how my days would pass. Things we’d thought, in the beginning, we’d be able to see to together, became things I’m still dealing with three months after his death.

There were times I sobbed in sheer hopelessness at all the things that needed my attention, and the grinding fatigue as they piled up, no matter how much effort I expended…I was also angry with him, sometimes, for the things he might have done when he was well, but didn’t, even when I asked.

Maybe it was a form of grieving, and of dealing with the monster growing unchecked in my beloved’s vital organs.

But, through it all, I was honored to be able to do this for him, however imperfectly. I knew it was the last service I could do for him directly, and, after all, I didn’t promise to just be with him when things were good and he could do for himself…but in sickness, as well as health, to death did us part.

This post does double-duty for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, where the prompt is “mon” as a word or part of one. You can find more SoCS posts here.

And come on back Monday, when we experience No More of So Much….

Looking for more M posts?

The journey of a marriage, in one poignant song. I’ve loved it for years, but now it has new meaning…

Posted in April CampNaNoWriMo 2018, CampNaNoWriMo, Just for Fun!, Novel Excerpts, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

The Key to Freedom: #SoCS and #CampNaNoWriMo

 

Passive-aggressive behavior was something Serrah felt she’d elevated to an art form – but Donovan Nash didn’t leave her any openings to use her craft.  He just offered her options, without seeming to have any stake at all in how she used them.

While it appealed to her, the way he was, and the peace he seemed to feel, it was also frightening. What would it be like, to have that kind of freedom? To not be trying to find any little way she could to get out from under the iron-willed control Mom and Dad held over her? To stand braced on her own two feet, the way he was standing, and hold herself tall beneath the ocean sky?

Was she strong enough?

That was a question she’d avoided asking herself. It was easy, back home – other than the crazy risk she’d taken in running away and coming here to find out about the dead baby who belonged to her hostage heart, she’d never really had the chance to find out whether she was strong enough to make a choice for herself.

She’d thought she was trapped; but now, Serrah thought maybe there was a strange kind of freedom in it. With Mom and Dad making all the decisions, all she’d really had to do was decide if she was going to go along quietly, or complain to herself and find tiny, inconsequential ways to rebel. Or, as was more often the case, just dream of rebelling.

She’d been wasting her life, and she’d told herself it was Mom and Dad’s fault.

But it was her life, and there was a lot she could have been doing that she hadn’t, until she came here.

Now, she was responsible for herself, and for her own decisions, and that was a trap she’d never seen coming – because Serrah Eleanor Reed, whose middle name was for a woman who hadn’t waited around for permission to do things, even though she lived in a time when women weren’t allowed to do nearly what men could, had almost no practice in the art of living.

“Will you show me, Donovan?” Suddenly, learning tai chi seemed to be the key to freedom and power in her own life.

“All right. The first thing you’ll need to know is how to set your stance. This first one is called the bow stance.” He stepped out with his right leg, and turned his left foot out at an angle. “Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your tailbone should be tucked. If you can imagine a string connecting the top of your head to the sky, your posture will be better.”

**

The above was a snippet from the rough draft of Still Nameless, a Kifo Island Chronicles novel I’m working on for this month’s April CampNaNoWriMo.

It’s also my entry into this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday blog hop, where the prompt is “passive/aggressive”, with bonus points for beginning the passage with one of those words.

Learn more about CampNaNoWriMo here.

Find other SOCS posts here.

 

Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Life Writing, slices of life, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing prompts, Writing Sample

So Far for #SoCS: Stream of Consciousness…Sunday?

So far….

So far, it’s been not quite two months since Jim died.

So far, the kids and I are all right.

So far, I still don’t know how I’m going to get the roof, ceilings, and floors repaired.

So far, I haven’t quite managed to file the life insurance claim.

So far, I’ve done a little cooking, but not as much as I would like.

So far, there’s far more to be done than there is me to do it.

So far, I’ve started reclaiming my bedroom, but I’m still not quite in the habit of using my new workstation with the dual monitors, because I have such a long history of sitting on my bed with my laptop – which is just what I’m doing right now.

So far, I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around the reality of Jim’s death.

So far, I’m keeping things mostly together, even if the garbage didn’t get picked up last week because I didn’t get that bill paid in time.

So far, we’re making plans a few months ahead, and dreaming a bit further.

So far…to go, and so far from where we were a year ago, when we couldn’t see any of this coming, when Jim and I thought we’d grow old together, in some time that was still so far away.

**

This Stream of Consciousness Saturday post was brought to you by the prompt “so far.” Check out other posts, or submit your own!

I miss this face…and the man it belonged to.
Posted in Life Writing, Parenting, Short Stories, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

Fairy Tales for #SoCS, February 10, 2018

“Hey, you little maniac! Stop biting the dog’s tail and get your ass over here!”

My throat is paying me back for all the screaming I’ve done tonight, but Finlay doesn’t even seem to hear me. Or, if she does, she’s flat-out ignoring me.

I wonder for a second whether wishing the dog was less good-natured about being chewed on makes me a terrible mother. But I don’t have time to follow through -we’re already fifteen minutes late for the baby’s doctor’s appointment, and his cough sounds croupy.

I shake Fin’s at her, but she keeps on chewing on Rascal’s tail as though I don’t even exist.

She’s going to make me come after her.

I take one step, trip over her shoe, and fall flat on my face. I open my eyes and I see a book – Fairy Tales for Little Princesses.

**

This post is serving double duty – something I’m doing as often as I can in these days where I am both navigating a path forward for my two teens and I, while at the same time negotiating  the reams of administrative details that go along with Jim’s illness and death.

As for this little passage, it’s both my entry into this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where the prompt is tale/tail; and the rough draft of a story start for Holly Lisle’s Writing Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck workshop. I’ll be revising this bit and eventually expand it into a complete tiny story of about 500 words…

But, for now, this is all there is to it, and, since that can soon be said of today, as well, I’m going to wrap this post up before Saturday shows me its tail, and I end up telling you all a tale of woe tomorrow.

Until next week, may you be well, and all your tales be happy ones that – well, set your tail to wagging!*

*#sorrynotsorry!


Gently down the Stream of Consciousness….

 

Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Just for Fun!, Kifo Island Chroincles, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Samples

“Mr. Carstairs”: Kifo Island for #SoCS

“Mr. Carstairs”

“Take your medication, Mr. Carstairs.”

“In other words, give my power to you, choke it out while I’m swallowing your control – “

“Mr. Carstairs – “

“My name is Zeke.”

“I’m required to call you Mr. Carstairs.  We’re not allowed to be too familiar with our patients.”

“In other words, they control you.”

“’They,’ Mr. Carstairs?”

“They. The ones we never see. The ones who control everything – only most people never even notice their strings being pulled and twisted.”

“Mr. Carstairs, this is a psychiatric hospital – “

“In other words, a control center. A brainwashing facility. A torture chamber – “

“Mr. Carstairs, you’re alarming the other patients – “

“They should be alarmed! We’re all prisoners here!”

“You’re not. You were homeless and hungry. You’re safe here – but if you alarm the others, I’ll have to isolate you.”

“In other words, I’m a prisoner.”

Will Zeke take his medicine?

Will the hospital employee ever call him by his first name?

Is Zeke right about the purpose of the hospital?

Any guesses?

**

The above freewriting ties into my rough draft novel, Tsunamis, from my as-yet unpublished Kifo Island series. It may or may not ever become a permanent part of Zeke’s story.

  • To “meet” Zeke, read here.
  • To read more from Tsunamis, click here.
  • To read more Kifo Island excerpts, go here.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G. Hill’s blog, Life in Progress. This week’s prompt is the phrase , “In other words,” used at least once. Dip your toes in the #SoCS waters here.

Posted in Enterprise fan fiction, Fan fiction, Flash Fiction Pieces, slices of life, SoCS, Star Trek: Enterprise, The IDIC Romance, Weekly Features, writing, Writing in Freedom, writing prompts, Writing Sample

A Gift From the Ocean: #SoCS for 1/20/18

Hello there, and welcome to

Stream of Consciousness Saturday.  

It’s been several weeks since I made it here. From the time my husband was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer on November 13, life became more and more about his illness and impending death, and all the millions of details that needed tending.

I’d like to say we had everything done when he died on January 12 – but I would be lying. In many ways, I will be digging us out and flying by the seat of my pants for quite some time to come, it seems.

But it’s been more than a week since Jim’s death, and I do have a better handle on where we are and what comes next, at least in the short term.  I’ve found that returning to some of my former routines helps, and so here I am, in the later part of Saturday, to share my first #SoCS post of a trying new year.  This week’s prompt was to use a word that begins with the letters “oc” – with bonus points for starting and ending with appropriate words.

As always, the standard disclaimer applies. I don’t own the characters in my fanfiction, and I earn no money for these stories. Simply a gift of love…

A Gift From the Ocean

“Oc -a -tee- oh?” Trip wiped away the delighted smile; his companion had been touchy just lately, and he’d come here to try to get on her good side…

Or into her bed, if she’d even consider that.

Probably wasn’t very logical.

T’Pol made some tiny shift in the muscles of her face, and let out her breath a hair too fast and forcefully. Sure signs of Vulcan impatience; he’d let himself get distracted by her.

Again.

“Ocotillo,” he told her, making his voice distinct and a touch slower than normal, without making any comment at all about the way she’d butchered the word. “It’s got other names – Flaming Sword, for one. I kind of like that, but I’ll bet you’d rather call it candlewood.”

“That nomenclature is illogical.” But she was stroking one of the flowers very gently, so maybe there was room in there somewhere for human fancies. She popped the bubble with her next words, though. “What is its genus species identification?”

“Fouquieria splendens.” He had a feeling that he’d made as big a mess of the Latin as she had the Spanish. But T’Pol had better manners than to point it out. She simply nodded, and Trip settled in on her bench, where he could watch the rare show of T’Pol enjoying the plant – as a scientist and a woman, at the same time.

He smiled when she set the pot down on her little meditation table. “Thank you,” she said simply.

“I thought you might like it. It’s one of your colors, after all, and it’s a desert plant, after all.” He didn’t mention that it was also both lovely and prickly, kind of like a Vulcan scientist. He wasn’t sure how she would take that.

“Take off your shirt. You arrived late, and nearly three minutes has been wasted in this discussion.”

He could be disappointed in how short-lived her interest was, but these neuropressure sessions with her were the high point of his day. She warmed her hands, and he stripped out of his shirt, shivering just a bit at the spicy-smoky scent in the air and the thought of her amazing fingers on his bare skin…

Was it just his imagination that she looked forward to it, too? That her fingers trembled just the tiniest bit when she touched him? She had started letting him try out what she showed him on her, and, when he did, he thought her body quivered, too, low and deep inside her.

Did all that add up to attraction? Or desire?

He just didn’t know.

But, as T’Pol’s fingers played a symphony with his nerves, and Trip relaxed more and more into the touch, and her quiet candlelit nest, he noticed that she kept pausing to look over at the little potted ocotillo plant, and her touch would feather across his skin for a second, before she settled back into the familiar pressure.

Trip Tucker was an engineer. He didn’t know yet what all that meant, but he knew it wasn’t just business, and he was willing to bet it meant that she liked the gift he’d brought her – the same way she’d liked the peaches he brought her last week. But was it the gifts – or the person bringing them? Did he mean anything to her, besides being a colleague in need of her assistance?

Well, he was an engineer, and he could find out. She liked the taste of peaches; maybe they reminded her of Vulcan fruit. She liked the octotillo, but that was a desert plant.

Next time, he was going to bring her something she couldn’t mistake for being from home. He was going to bring her a gift from the ocean.

Will Trip bring T’Pol a gift from the ocean?

If he does, how will she react?

Any guesses?

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G. Hill over at Life in Progress. Stop by and see this week’s entries, and maybe even add your own.

Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, NaNoWriMo 2012, Novel Excerpts, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, Writing in Freedom, writing prompts, Writing Sample

The Scent of Inkberries: #SoCS and #NaNoWriMo2017

 

“But let us return to the story.” She lifted a hand, fingers lightly closed. “Each of the Nine came to Mother, each sharing the same core of truth. Two daughters would be born.” She lifted a finger to give the words the weight of a list; another thing about her that had nay changed with time. “One would carry the blood of Tacivaar, and the other of Canivaar.” A second finger joined the first. This one bore the stains of her inkberries, minding Niaan of those nights when she would wake to the sound of Konii’s quills scratching away at vellum, or scraps of fabric paper Rachyl sometimes wove and bound into books for her. They had had long whispered talks, oftimes, about what Konii was learning in the archives, and what Niaan was learning in the Huntlands, and how it ever seemed more real than anything they were learning as part of Mother’s lessons.

That early closeness had faded, but the scent of inkberries, or their stain on the Mouse’s fingers and shift, was still enough to bring the memory of it surging, bringing warmth and trust –

“You have stopped listening, little sister.”

What do inkberries smell like?

What is the rest of this story?

Do you want to read more?

This stream-of-consciousness snippet was written for Among the Firestars, Volume Five (I think) of my epic fantasy Trueborn series-in-the-making, and my current NaNoWriMo novel-in-progress.

 

Meanwhile, in real life…

Well, as they say, nothing is written in ink, or in stone – including that people who married each other a little over 20 years ago will get to live to grow into old age together.

My husband has metastasized pancreatic cancer. The first suggestion of the realities to come was the day after our twentieth anniversary on August 23. He was having abdominal pains – sharp and shooting, and, after most of the day thinking maybe it had more to do with the rich dinner we’d had at the oyster bar the night before, we were finally concerned enough about the possibility of appendicitis that we headed to the emergency room.

An ultrasound revealed the culprit was likely his gall bladder, and that he might need to be more careful of rich or dairy foods. But there was also a spot on his liver “Probaby fatty tissue,” we were told, but it was recommended that he see his primary care physician sometime the next week to be sure.

He didn’t go. We were between insurance plans, money was tight as we were launching a small business, and he didn’t want to pile up bills that would make things even tighter. He decided to wait for his regular appointment a few weeks later.

But he wasn’t feeling great. Digestive issues became chronic. In the back of my mind, I worried. He was tired, and his belly hurt. When he saw his doctor, she confirmed a mass on the larger lobe of his liver, and he came home to tell me there would be a series of tests and treatments, starting with a colonoscopy, and ending with the surgical removal of the alleged fatty tissue.

A day or so before the Thursday colonoscopy, his leg started hurting. He limped out of the appointment. The pain didn’t abate, and it swelled. On Monday, he went to the emergent care, because he’d been told they had the equipment to do an ultrasound on the leg. They didn’t, so they sent him on to the emergency room – and, there, they diagnosed a deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot running the length of his leg.

Then there was the bloodwork, which showed proteins indicative of cancer in his blood. The ultrasound that showed the liver mass, and a node on his pancreas. The biopsy that showed pancreatic tissue in the liver mass. The diagnosis, and the prognosis: six to twelve months. Inoperable. Incurable. Radiation won’t help. Chemotherapy will give him maybe more time, and better quality of life. But it won’t cure this.

Only death will.

Things aren’t written in stone, or in ink. But maybe I can change that – find a way to use indelible ink to etch these last twenty years and however many months, weeks, days – maybe even years, if we get very lucky – into my soul.

Maybe ink isn’t needed. Maybe the indelibility is right here with us, in our children, in our home, in our minds and memories –

And in every moment we’re all still here, and living, and loving…

**

This post is my dip into Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where this week’s prompt is “ink.”

Read more SoCS posts right here.

Want to join in? Here are the rules.

Remains of the Last Supper of Our Old Normal, Aug. 23, 2017.