Frantic Fiction: Nature’s Third Law of Magic

Richard always hated that he was the oldest son. This meant that he was supposed to do all of the more arduous tasks. Today, that meant he had to go check the traps because Lana and Leopold had set out new ones last night. He is glad that Pa finally had them learn how to make the traps so he didn’t have to do each step himself. This step was still by far the worst. It’s the step where you get to kill anything the traps caught. And Richard couldn’t stand it, but if he returns to the cabin with no rabbits again because somehow all six traps “didn’t catch anything” or “somehow the rabbits broke free on their own” he would get a beating from Pa for sure. Richard bargained saying he would only actually take home half of the found animals this time, in hopes that is enough to satisfy Pa’s expectations of how good the traps are. He can blame the empty traps on Lena and Leopold’s poor trap-making skills. Yeah, that sounds like a solid plan, Richard thought to himself.
He was nearing the spot where the closest trap was. He could hear a hurried rustling as he approached the huge oak he placed the trap near. His stomach felt queasy because he knew what that meant. As he went around the tree, he saw the small, furry grey creature trying to get away from him as he crept towards it, but it was caught. Richard could tell this was a trap Leopold made and set. He never had the knack for them, and because of that, this rabbit was only caught by one leg. He wished that the snare would have worked properly and caught it by it’s neck and kept it from having to struggle. Richard pulled out his hunting knife from his belt, and crouched as he took two steps closer to the animal. It turned and stopped struggling, almost as if it was accepting its fate. Richard could see it was breathing incredibly fast. This is when poor Richard did something he couldn’t undo. He looked into its eyes. He saw fear and dread, emotions he wished that rabbit wasn’t able to feel. He averted his eyes and looked back at it’s coat. It was such a beautiful coat! It was grey with patches of white and brown that made it look almost like a dog he saw at the Solstice Celebration in town last summer. He couldn’t do it. To kill such a beautiful and innocent creature was beyond him. He thought to himself, Leopold only made two traps, and I’ll bet the other didn’t even catch anything. Lana is much better at making snares, I bet her four all did this part of the job for me, so if I just get the catches from hers, then maybe that will be enough to keep Pa from getting suspicious. And so instead of bringing his blade to the animal, he just used it to cut the rope around it’s hind foot, and the rabbit darted away into a nearby thicket, lost in the underbrush. Richard realized his heart was pounding. As alive as he was feeling, he felt such a sense of relief when he couldn’t hear the rabbit nearby anymore. Richard decided he was going to take a quick respite against the oak until he was calmer, then go check the other snares.
As soon as he rest his back against the oak, he closed his eyes and began to rub them in hopes of relieving some stress. Suddenly, a bright light seemed to be shining right at him. He opened his eyes, keeping his hand in front of them in hopes of shielding some of the light because it was so bright. He had never seen a light this bright. It was as if he the sun came right up to him and was greeting him! He then heard a voice.
“Oh, sorry! I forget when we first appear to your kind, it can be a bit overwhelming.”
The light dimmed until there was a small boy, not but ten years old, in front him. Except Richard could see through the boy in a way, and the boy had a yellow glow around him, almost as if he was made of candlelight. Richard froze up. Every muscle in his body tensed up as he feared this shade was going to take his soul, just like he heard in stories from Old Genny when they would go into town to trade furs with her husband.
The shade seemed to sense his fear. It said, “Don’t worry, I am not here to hurt you. Quite the opposite as a matter of fact. See what you did with that rabbit there was a pure and good deed, and when you humans to pure and good deeds, our kind rewards you.
Usually we try to take more subtle approaches, but children and young folk like you are typically more accepting of seeing us and not losing your mind.”
“So you aren’t going to t-take my s-s-soul?” was all Richard managed to get out of his mouth.
“Heavens no, I am going to provide you with food since that is what you gave up by letting the rabbit live. So here are fruits and berries local to this area that you can take to your family that will more than replace how much nourishment you would have gotten from the rabbit. Do you need us to make you a basket you carry it in because it looks like all you have is that shabby knapsack?”
“You all can make baskets?”
“Sure, we can make anything! Watch!”
The shimmering boy then extended his arm towards the thicket the rabbit disappeared into and the vines and twigs there began to weave themselves together into a lovely basket, exactly like the one Ma used to have that broke when Lana and Leopold tried to use it to carry far too large of logs.
“How did you make one just like Ma’s?!” Richard exclaimed as he rushed towards it, and picked it up to examine it.
“Well I just made one like you were picturing in your head. Do you want a different one? I can make cornucopias as well, but I figured those might be harder for you to carry. They have such an awkward shape after all…” the boy trailed off and awaited a response from Richard.
Richard began to frown after examining the basket. He said, “I can’t take this basket. I’ll just fit what I can in my bag. Ma and Pa will ask too many questions about how I found a basket just like the one Ma uses to have.”
“Suit yourself. Is there anything else I can do you for you then since you are only half accepting our gift for your pure and good deed?”
Richard began to fit what he could of the fruit and berries into his bag. Then paused for a moment and looked up at the boy. He suddenly became very serious, but shy, and asked, “This might be a bit much to have you do, but I ask it so that I won’t have to be put through this again today, and because Pa expects me to bring home some rabbit. So could you make sure all the other rabbit traps that caught something ‘got the job done?'”
“You mean make sure that all your other prey is killed before you harvest it?”
Richard nodded.
“Sure, give me a moment.”
The boy shimmered even brighter for a moment and then faded away. A couple seconds later he reappeared exactly where he was. Richard was startled by his return and nearly fell back against the big oak.
“Three of your other traps caught something, and they all “got the job done” as you say.”
“Thanks,” Richard said awkwardly. He looked down and shuffled his feet.
“You’re welcome Richard! Thank you for your pure and good deed. Best of luck in your future trappings!” The boy said as he faded away again in a similar fashion as before.
Richard waited a minute to see if he would reappear, and then shrugged, and ran off to the next trap as he tried to come up with a way to explain how he found so much ripe fruit and berries along his route because he vowed he wouldn’t tell Pa the truth for how he acquired it all.
As Richard ran off, the boy watched him because he didn’t actually go away that time. Rather, he made himself invisible to Richard, as his kind is able to do. Then another shade dropped down to the ground from a branch high up on the oak. This one was a girl spirit, and one much older looking than the boy, but still no older than 16 or 17.
“Not now, Serena,” The boy said in an annoyed tone.
“What? You don’t want me to talk about how this child’s ‘pure and good deed’ has other consequences you neglected to tell him, Arthion?” Serena said with a grin on her face.
“Just go do your part, I don’t want to talk about it,” Arthion said as he turned away from her.
“So what should I do? Should I go make a hunter’s aim more true and kill two deer instead of just one today? Or maybe I’ll make that same rabbit your friend saved go off and destroy some of the crops down at the farm outside this forest. That family could go without as hearty of meals if you ask me. I mean have you seen their children? They are about as round as this here oak!”
“I don’t care what you do, just get it over with,” Arthion said in a frustrated tone.
“I think I’ll do option number two. I like the irony of that better. If you made such a point to tell him about the good reaction, why didn’t you tell him about the bad reaction his action had, Arthion?”
“Because I didn’t want him to have to live with the fact that even though he saved the rabbit’s life, some negative action still has to happen. Humans’ don’t have the will we do. Knowledge like that weighs on them too much. He would think about that every time he was about to make a choice like this, and he would become indecisive the rest of his life. This way he just continues to do good, and not worry about all the bad we have to do to make it balance out,” Arthion said wistfully.
“You care too much about what these humans do and think. In the end, it all evens out, so who cares if they make good choices or not, either way, we still have work to do,” reasoned Serena as she headed for the farm.
Arthion sighed a heavy sigh and whispered to himself “I wish we could actually make a difference, and not just keep things equal in the world…”

Frantic Fiction: The Start of Something…Interesting?

Like my Patchwork Poetry posts, I’ll write fiction and put it under this name. I am hoping to improve my creative writing capabilities because honestly sometimes I feel like I am lacking in the “creative” aspect. I also need to get better about just sitting down and posting. This way I will have one more way I can write, so that hopefully I never feel as though I can’t write because my options are “limited.” I will probably just do short stories for now, but maybe if I grow in confidence and ability, I will write ongoing series, but let’s not jump the gun. So my next post will probably be my first piece in this section. So here’s to fiction! Cheers!

Writing Prompt: Bypass/Fishhook/Region

via @Writing Prompts: bypass / fishhook / region


There once was a man named Douglass

He drove with only his compass

This proved to be swell

No wrong he befell

Until he drove off the bypass


I put new bait on the fishhook

Whatever I catch I will cook

I pull back to cast

But my throw stops fast

As I see I caught my friend Brooke


This is the tale of poor Steven

He fails when it comes to reason

He met his “true love”

And they used no “glove”

Now gross is his private region

So this writing prompt I found I decided to write limericks. I definitely took less time to write these, and it turned out to be considerably enjoyable as well! I only hope others share my opinion. I am definitely going to write more of these in the future even if people don’t though because at the very least, I made myself laugh!

Daily Prompt: Silhouette

via Daily Prompt: Silhouette

Unknown when I return, I take my leave

Treasuring our time together always

I trek through your yard on this chilly eve

Wishing that my route would become a maze

So that alas but one option remains

And back into your embrace I return

To stay in thy abode, free of my pains

Cause my greatest is you, for whom I yearn

Instead farewell must I bid you for now

But one last look upon you I shall take

Turning, through your window I look for thou

But I see thy silhouette so opaque

In this moment I learn my tragedy:

Ev’ry farewell will bring me agony.

I decided to try my hand at sonnets for this writing prompt. I have never written one before, and initially I intended it to be like a Shakespearean sonnet, which turned out to be more difficult than I thought. I realized I have a certain struggle when it comes to recognizing stressed and unstressed syllables, so maintaining the iambic pentameter became secondary to just finishing it. Any feedback is appreciated!

Patchwork Poetry: Maybe I Can Be a Poet?

Over the past couple months, especially during the holidays, I had been wanting to try my hand at poetry. I thoroughly enjoy reading it, and so if I can write it then maybe I can write something others will enjoy. I have simply never tried to write any. I am also not sure what kind of poetry I want to write. I always loved rhymes and things like limericks and sonnets, but I also enjoy haikus and just free-form poetry, or whatever it’s called. So I’ll try to think of some good ones to post in the future. I’ll title them all “Patchwork Poetry” because they are all gonna be a mashup of my random thoughts and experiences and I don’t know what I will create until it’s already made. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a famous poet one day! Only one way to find out…

Middle-of-the-Night Update: I am not dead, I promise!

So much has happened since my last post. I have gotten new jobs, quite one because I got promoted to the other, and so now I am a manager at a sports bar in the area. Having never served before, or done any work in the food industry, it’s all very new and exciting for me. This job is definitely helping me grow as a person, and really push me out of my comfort zone, which I know I needed. The only problem is it isn’t leaving me with a lot of free time, and the little free time I have, it is easier to tell myself “I’m too tired to do____” instead of actually doing it, such as writing, working out, hanging out with friends, etc. However, a friend of mine gave me some advice a while ago that has really stuck with me, and is what is calling me to write at 1:28 in the middle of the night when I should in fact most likely be sleeping. She told me that it’s always easy to use the excuse of “I’m too tired,” but using that excuse as a cover for keeping yourself from doing work, or accomplishing a certain task, is only going to hurt yourself in the end. And so I have to motivate myself. I can’t wait around to write until I am “in the mood” to do so because if I do, I may never write again! I have to motivate myself, and push myself to write more, and hold myself accountable when I come up short. If I don’t, then who will? So I will post more on here in the foreseeable future, even if it means middle-of-the-night posts like this one. Here’s to the future, and making 2018 the year I push myself out of my comfort zone!

News On My Life: Writing About the News Is Difficult


Photo: The ruins of San Juan Parangaricutiro, near the base of the Parícutin volcano – Image |sharloch | flickr

I recently got hired to write for a news website called Blasting News. This is an incredible opportunity, and admittedly I didn’t think I would get the job when I applied, but I had to try. The problem is I have come to realize is I am not so great at coming up with news topics. My first article is about a Spanish tongue-twister, Parangaricutirimicuaro. Since then I have struggled; as a result, I haven’t written much since. The problem is I don’t want to report on the same thing that a million other people are writing similar articles about. I want to write about the unique and extraordinary. I just don’t know how to discover stories about that. I am hoping this post will act as a springboard, and I will be inspired to write an article or two. We’ll see. I have a lot to work on, but I am looking forward to making the progress.

So the Sun Is Already Setting Now…

I finished reading The Sun Also Rises some time ago, but I never got around to writing a review for it. While I was reading it, a coworker saw me doing so and told me an interesting fact about Ernest Hemingway I didn’t know: he hates women. First I was shocked. Then I continued reading and I came to a similar conclusion. The only main female character in that novel is not portrayed flatteringly, but I am getting ahead of myself.

My Synopsis:

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

The story is about a group of World War I veterans, whom are now mostly all writers, drinking a lot of alcohol and traveling. The main character, Jake Barnes, is a plain man who was injured in the war and lost the use of his penis. This is important because his love interest, Brett Ashley, is unable to be with him because she doesn’t want to give up sex. She is a very outgoing and independent woman. They met during WWI in England where Brett treated him for his wound that made him impotent. Jake starts out in Paris with an acquaintance named Robert Cohn. Cohn and Brett leave Paris for a time (partially together, but that isn’t revealed until later) and so Jake’s friend and fellow veteran Bill Gorton visits Paris. He convinces Jake to go on a fishing trip in Spain and then go to Pamplona for the “Running of the Bulls” festival. Cohn tags along, much to Bill’s and even Jake’s internal complaining. Just before they leave, Jake runs into Brett and her fiancé and their mutual friend Mike Campbell. She asks if they can join Jake and co. in Pamplona for the festivities and Jake agrees. After a peaceful fishing trip in a small Spanish town, Bill and Jake return to Pamplona where Cohn decided to wait for Brett to arrive. Brett and Mike arrive as the town prepares for the festival. One of the nights Mike ridicules Cohn for following Brett around even though she doesn’t want him to. The celebrations start and there is a lot of drinking and bullfighting. Brett ends up falling for an up-and-coming bullfighter, and has Jake help her get to know the young lad named Pedro Romero. Cohn can’t find Brett one night and gets mad at Mike and Jake for not telling him and insulting him. He ends up knocking both of them out and then discovers Brett with Romero and beats him up. By the end of the altercation, he feels guilty about doing so and escapes to his hotel room. Romero slays a bull the next day as if it were nothing. Then after his victory, him and Brett leave for Madrid. Jake, Bill, and Mike return to France, but then Jake heads back to Spain to vacation. He receives a telegram from Brett to visit her immediately in Madrid, where upon his arrival, he finds out she just broke up with Romero and sent him home for fear of screwing his life up. She then asks Jake to take her back to Mike. As the book ends, they are riding in a taxi on their way out of Madrid and Brett says they “could have had such a damned time together,” to which Jake responds with “Yes…Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

My Review:

This book is a great example of Hemingway’s simple language and diction. He leaves plenty left unsaid, and so it requires the reader to infer about a lot, but he doesn’t just have the reader guessing. He points you to a direction, and then says “You tell me what is really happening here.” This is very well done, however this “leading” ends up revealing what beliefs and biases Hemingway himself had. For instance, Jake is very much a self-inserted character, meant to be a man akin to ol’ Ernie. Brett is believed to be basically any woman that he ever interacted with, manifested in a negative portrayal of an independent woman. He writes her to be very promiscuous. She has many different partners and isn’t shown to have any real attachment to them in the first half of the novel, and then she cheats on Mike multiple times in the second part of the novel. The interesting part for me is it isn’t seen by Jake as a big deal that she is cheating or being promiscuous. Jake just has a problem that she isn’t cheating or being promiscuous WITH HIM. So in short, this is a good novel, and I am glad I read it, but holy shit, Hemingway had the typical “Nice guys finish last” complex and it really overshadows some of the more fun literary themes, like alcoholism and self-discovery after a major war that was so horrific it made so many men and women feel lost like never before. But hey, this book really helped establish him as a writer, so maybe it got him laid and he let out these frustrations because apparently some of his later works featured women who weren’t the “bitch woman” stereotype that Brett Ashley is called in most literary circles.

Daily Prompt Response: Dash

Anyone who cooks regularly will say they know exactly how much is in a pinch or dash. They will most likely hold up their hand, putting their index finger and thumb together at some seemingly indiscriminate distance, of which only those directly in front of them will be able to tell how much they actually mean. I, however, can openly admit I did not know how much was in a pinch or dash, or even that they are technically different measurements. Although they aren’t recognized by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) as accurate measurements here in the U.S., they are widely accepted by chefs as having an exact volume to them.

A pinch is smaller than a dash, and there is a unit smaller than a pinch even: a smidgen. They follow the rule that most of the U.S. measurements follow, which is typically called binary submultiples, among other names. That just means that each unit is just one half the size of the unit larger than it, and that unit is one half the size of the next largest unit, and so forth. So as one would surmise, two smidgens make a pinch, two pinches make a dash, and two dashes make what is called a saltspoon, and two saltspoons make a coffeespoon, and then two coffeespoons make a teaspoon, and so forth. That is the size ranking of each of those units, but I am sure you might be curious as to what the exact volumes of each measurement is. And if you aren’t, I am going to tell you anyway, because I was curious about it, and I want to share my curiosity with you. A smidgen is 1/32 tsp, or 0.115522 mL; a pinch is 1/16 tsp, or 0.231043 mL; and lastly, a dash is 1/8 tsp, or 0.462086 mL. I decided to include their metric volumes just in case someone is reading this from any country that isn’t the United States, United Kingdom, Liberia, or Burma.

I would like to think I am a reasonable person, who doesn’t always need to be exact, but I would be lying if I said I am not going to attempt to accurately measure out the respective volume for each unit next time a recipe calls for a “pinch” or “dash” of something. Now whether you do or not is totally up to you, but at least now you have this useful little factoid to bring up next time you need a clever ice breaker, or just really want to have a response when you hear someone say “Tell me something I don’t know.”

Daily Prompt: Dash

Upcoming Book Reviews

In trying to find what kind of posts to write, I realized I had the perfect material right in front of me! I recently purchased three new books. They are The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, and last but not least Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I am in the process of reading the first one and upon completing it I am gonna write a review for it on here, and then read the next one and do the other two subsequently. I think I will probably do one general review post and then possibly a quote post to analyze or discuss any quotes I stumbled upon that I particularly enjoyed in some way. I will squeeze these posts in just whenever I finish the books, and so they probably won’t be my next couple posts, but they will be sprinkled throughout my upcoming pieces. Time to get back to reading!