Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Relief from the Heat

Well, I guess it's officially fall in Houston, though we probably won't see any fall color until December. I'm still working on writing everyday this month for the October Wine and Write, but not getting much done on the weekends. The weather's been too nice to stay inside and write.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Where Has The Time Gone?

Special thanks to Carrie for sending me this link to a poetry site called The Mag.

This week's prompt at The Mag

“Wow, everybody's in a hurry.” He observes while basking on a bench in the middle of a park; or is it a meadow? Doesn't matter. The air is light and breezy, and the sky so bright that it bleaches the colors of the day.

They must be on their lunch breaks. He muses as people whisk by and then fade into the shadows of their office buildings; or are they trees? The mystery of his surroundings holds little interest for him at the moment. He's more intrigued by the way the shadows seem to engulf the passersby as they reach the edge of the grassy plot. The glare of sunlight befogs the perception of everything that enters the shadows.

It is out of this sun bathed fog, a gray-haired woman approaches with a weathered smile and tired eyes that reveal a spark of passion as she sits down on the bench beside him. Though she looks much older than him, her strangely familiar warmth makes his pulse race, and awkwardness interrupts the peaceful afternoon, as he struggles to start a conversation with her.

“Hi...” He pauses when he realizes she's trying to tell him something. Her eyes start to water as she softly moves her lips, but makes no sound. Wearily, she glances over her shoulder, and he notices that the shadows appear to be stretching toward her, hushing the glare of day.

“Where has the time gone?” He mumbles.

Turning back toward him, she unfolds a piece of paper and hands it to him. It reads:

Dearest Mike,

I’m so sorry I flinched

When you would get upset

Cowered, though you were never harsh

Transfused childhood-violence-guilt

To your innocent heart…

Though you understood why

Your heart still choked

I’m so sorry you became

My ingrained psychotropic replacement addiction

An impossible role

That you patiently endured

While I convulsed and transformed

A screaming withdrawal

That left you feeling you could do nothing right

I’m so sorry you’re not here to see

The transfiguration

Your seventeen years of faithfulness created

Accepting and supporting me

Forming and growing with me…

Your reward is despoiled prematurely

My evolution is empty without you

All my love,

Your remorseful wife

The paper turns to ash and is carried away by the breeze before he can read the last two lines. Staring at the now vacant spot on the bench beside him, an emptiness deep inside festers, but only momentarily until the peacefulness of the day rolls back in. The shadows recede once more to the edge of the lea, and the sky brightens.

“I wonder if I should be heading home now?” He examines the hand less watch face strapped to his wrist. Guess not. Resting his elbows on the back of the bench and one foot across the other knee, he settles back into life on the other side of a dream.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Walking in the Mire

Anger is like getting lost in a swamp. Eventually, you're going to have to relieve yourself. And, while it might feel good coming out, you're left standing in it. Not only that, but you just added to all the shit you're already wading through.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Wine & Write 2013

I've recently joined a wonderful writing group here in Houston, and one of the authors is hosting a writing challenge called October Wine & Write 2013. The idea is simple – write something every day for the month of October and drink wine while doing it (the wine part is optional). Well, I think I'll give it a try, except tonight might be more of a “Whine” & Write effort, especially since I don't have any wine. Too bad, too, because a bottle of wine might have had some success in diluting a little of the whine.

I would like to whine about my computer. I am now a Linux user, and have been since March of this year. Windows just wasn't working for me on this ancient relic of a computer, and since I can't afford a new one right now, I wiped the hard drive using Dban Boot & Nuke, and installed a Fedora based operating system. I'm not a computer geek, though, and really had no idea of what I was getting into.

I quickly learned that Fedora is not for beginners. You need to know how to connect to repositories and which ones are the right ones for compiling and installing software on your system or “distro” as the geeks like to call it. Linux systems are pretty particular in general, so when you find you don't have the right rpm's to compile software and try do a work around that locks up the computer, the worse thing you can do is cut the power to the hard drive. With Linux, this will apparently corrupt the grub and prevent the operating system from ever booting up again. (if you're still with me and understand what I'm talking about, then you probably know more about Linux than I do)

Suffice it to say, that I lost everything I had been writing for a new story I was working on. This happened around July or August during my last attempt to write something every day, and in my nausea, haven't been able to write anything since.

It's bad enough that I, the queen of backing everything up, didn't back the files up on my external hard drive, but to add cyber gas and bloating to my already sour stomach, I later learned that I could've retrieved those files with a free program called PhotoRec, if I hadn't installed a new operating system right on top of them. I could've run Linux Mint (the operating system I'm currently using) from a bootable CD to retrieve them. Aaaayeeeeee! This has resulted in some serious creative constipation (everyone can thank Sue for that metaphor).

As I mentioned, I am now using Linux Mint, an Ubuntu based OS, which is so much more user friendly. All Linux is free software and uses less space and RAM than Windows or Mac, which makes it great for old computers like mine. I created the above picture while playing around with a free vector program called Inkscape, and did the finishing touches using a free graphics program called Gimp, all with only a single core processor and less than 2 gig of RAM. I could not have done it with XP; I didn't have enough RAM. I am truly grateful for every one that contributes to the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative, but there's definitely a learning curve when switching over.

I would recommend to anyone thinking about switching, to install your home directory on a separate partition from the OS, so if the OS crashes, you can reinstall it without affecting your home directory. I finally figured out to do this, but not before crashing my system a second time when I tried to move it to the new partition. I didn't have enough room on my hard drive to copy my home directory in the same partition, and then move it to the new one. I know it's possible, because I experimented on an even older computer first, and it worked fine. But, the older computer had a larger drive. Here's where you can find the instructions on how to do it, but trust me, it's a lot easier to do during the installation if you're using Linux Mint.

So now, I raise my wine glass (with only water in it) to what I hope is the end of my whine about my computer, and the beginning of a month of free flowing words. After all, wine does have a laxative affect. Sorry, I couldn't resist.