Cezarija Abartis

Fast. Hot. Slow. Wet Cement.

I took advantage of Kathy Fish’s generosity last week and joined in the Fast Flash Reunion Extravaganza on Zoetrope. It was a great time and I adored reading other people’s work and saying “hey” to many fabulous and talented writers such as Raima Larter, Todd Clay Stuart, Nan Wigington, Cezarija Abartis, Matthew J Robinson, Jayne Martin, Jolene McIlwain, Alex Reece Abbott, Jan Elman Stout, Karen Schauber Karen Jones, Chris Haven, Patience Mackarness, Melissa Saggerer, Amy Braziller, Mary Crawford, Gay Degani, Andrew Stancek, Tommy Dean, and Chelsea Stickle. Over the course of that weekend, I wrote one creepy/Stephen King-ish flash, another that has a lot to flesh out and then two I didn’t post because they decided they couldn’t be flashes at the time.

What I’ve noticed is a similar progression of “lessening” lately. After a recent absence from Hot Pants, the first flash I wrote was solid and earned a finalist slot in a contest. The next piece wasn’t as good – though it had good parts – and the stories since then have had no true endings.

This is a reflection of my life. The lack of “the end” to Covid is insane and driven me to apocalyptic theorizing. The political news has altered my mind. Case in point: Mattresses. Not only is it the usual “what size and softness.” No, this creative mind of mine rushes to the financial outlook – no, not everyone will be all right. Will we? What if they stop making mattresses? What if we wait for the riots in Hamburg and Orchard Park and grab one then? What if our mattress is the only one in the neighborhood without bed bugs? What if climate chaos turns us all into backstabbing-for-survival neighbors? What if we lose in that battle? I don’t want to be murdered for my mattress. Black people have been murdered for less. Black people have been killed for no reason. The wide spreading-about of “bad apples” in law enforcement is astounding. Until it isn’t. Then it’s sad and awful. What kind of white privileged person am I? I may get Covid and I might survive even though my life has no more worth than anyone else’s simply because I am white and live in a state that took the threat seriously. Then again, I might fall under the care of that worthless physician assistant in Springville and die because he’s a useless jackass idiot.

Ah, there’s nothing like way too much information for a whizzing bang to the head. Obviously I’ve had time to over think and let small things fester. I vote we proceed to the picture portion of this post…

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A few of you dear readers were sent a video clip of an Evening Primrose exploding into bloom. You would think this boring, but it is fascinating. The process takes a variety of time but you notice it in the day, the ones getting ready. They grow plumper, like nourishment is rushing up the stems. In the dusk, you come out and watch. And wait. Perfect interlude on early summer nights when you seek communion and there isn’t a campfire. But with Covid, who is there to commune to?

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The hummingbirds were ferociously hungry this spring. I’ve never filled the feeders so much, but I only hung two feeders instead of three. There are many fuchsias, though. One has cascaded down from the hanging pot and I have watched the birds visit each of those flowers before visiting the nearby feeder. Other times, they treat the blooms as their dessert.

What is beyond sweet is the promotion work done by The London Independent Story Prize. The gorgeous and generous highlighting of their winning artists is amazing and much appreciated. I’m also grateful to Nina Fosati and everyone in the Hamburg Writers’ Group for their help and many, many thanks to Kim Chinquee and the Hot Pantsers for theirs! Also wonderful is the promotion the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts does for its writers. My story is here with much gratitude to Randall Brown for including it in this year’s amazing group of stories. I am honored. Thank you!

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At 10 months, new cat sprawls about when not terrorizing the dog. I’ve had her out on a leash and harness. She is a skittish thing, afraid of everything. I ordered “The Tiny Tawny Kitten,” a little Golden Book written by Barbara Shook Hazen and read it to her. New cat doesn’t believe it was my favorite story as a kid.

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The reestablishment of the once railroad ties steps is slowly taking shape. We’ve been to the campfire area a few times. Letting it seed out last year seems to have worked, but now there is greenery up there to mow. The labyrinth and all paths leading to it are the best maintained. I’m not up to discussing the garden. I don’t want to talk about my mild inconveniences and minor tragedies. It doesn’t seem fair to mope. At least not online. I think there is so much more people agree on than not, but it’s so hard to get anyone to shut up long enough to see the obvious things. How is observable, data backed science something to debate? Opinions are not fact. Health emergencies aren’t about your rights…

Sorry/not sorry. I feel like it is something I need to say. If you’re reading this, please wear a mask.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Speaking of opinion, the moon looked sneaky one night. Actually, that sounds like a great first line. After I post this, I’ll go see if it works. Who knows? Maybe it will lead to a story with a happy end. One with Covid contained and my Facebook family and friends intact. One where I have an agent, a book deal, and can report being annoyed over faulty sock elastic and feeling dread over how to effectively transfer feathers without feeling guilty for having such belligerent nothingness on my mind.

Thank you for stopping by and for the read. I appreciate you!

I don’t “do” Saint Patrick’s Day, but I wish you well with your celebration.

I was ill. It wasn’t pretty and if I hadn’t been doing Pilates regularly, I wonder if I wouldn’t have ended up in the emergency department. Hell, last Friday, if I’d been able to get to the phone I would have called Nancy to take me. I think everything is fine now, but it took a lot more out of me than I would have expected.

The writhing in pain on the bathroom floor unable to find a comfortable position was actually the highlight of my week. My heart broke twice with agent rejections and I know, I know, I KNOW it’s a love match and I’m supposed to be grateful I didn’t end up with someone who doesn’t love my work, but right now, I don’t feel like anyone ever will…and as I say that, I need to remind myself that a story of mine made it to the final round of Best Small Fictions.

Trust me, that high didn’t come close balancing out those lows.

Another bright spot is that “Closer to Whole” is up at Pure Slush in the Suits Issue. I am thrilled to have my flash in the same issue at Susan Tepper, Gay Degani, Cezarija Abartis, and many more amazing writers. Many, many thanks to Matt Potter for including my piece.

Last night, Nancy and I went to see “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” Tina Fey did a great job. There were a lot of interesting characters and I’ll be buying it when it comes out on DVD so Husband can see it.

It’s hard to believe the weather is as nice as it’s been, but here’s proof:

crocus

The “normal” crocuses didn’t come up this year – or they did and I missed them thinking it was too early. I haven’t seen any growth where I planted tulips in the fall, but the hyacinth is pushing through in a ring around the flowering pear tree. Husband and I went up the hill on Saturday; the paths were clear.

After posting this, I plan on starting some tomato and pepper seeds. Maybe this year the garden fence will go up…and maybe I’ll find an agent…though giving up is a possibility, too.

I told you being ill took a lot out of me.

Anyways, thanks for stopping by for a read and if you’re my devoted fan in Brazil, thank you for checking in so often. I only post twice a month, in case you were wondering.

*These are my creek side reflections. Your experiences will vary.

Short, Sweet and Hopeful

Welcome! I hope this first day of March finds you well. I’m fresh off two writing competition losses, but letting the disappointment fizzle out by plunging back in to Ellie’s Elephants. A friend of mine is going over the last draft and providing detailed notes and a woman I met at the Writer’s Workshop is also offering her insight. Both are picking up on little quirks that need to be altered before I try another go at representation.

None of the notes are huge which I’m taking as a good sign. On top of that, at the end of Chapter Four, I found the following aside from the detailed note provider, “It’s good–I like the way it builds all the way through. I love the humor. Best Seller! I want 1 2/3 %.” Such a comedian…

As to submitting, I’ve been slacking there, though I did get two sent out on Monday.

The boards on Zoetrope were down to less than 50. I freaked and threw Foxes on the Lake on the read page. I’ve gotten two reviews so far. Once again, I got assigned to a newbie. At least this one sounded like he read the story, but the last one taught me an unfortunate lesson: Until they are on there a while, do not speak to them. The last one’s cockiness dripped off the screen and tainted my Zoetrope experience. On the other hand, I was thrilled to find a review from Cezarija Abartis. I was not expecting her to review me, but she offered great advice and I’m so grateful for that. If you want a short story collection that will transport you, I do suggest hers. Nice Girls and Other Stories was fantastic.

Other than that, there’s been a whole lot of not drinking going on here, much reading, several dreams about seedlings and the garden and the occasional nightmare over errant commas. A calm before a storm? Now that I think about it, it has been unusually quiet around here for the last two weeks…

* These are just my reflections. Your experience may vary.