Upon The Ground: Progress

Well, this is it. The last story from my collection Upon The Ground. It is a stream-of-consciousness literary piece entitled “Progress.” I am pretty proud of it, and if you have been reading the collection, it ties in quite a few of the other stories as well (Not that you need to know that to enjoy the story).

Here is the beginning of the piece:

“Progress”

…death sneaks in like a viper slithering in the mud of existence aching for some flesh to bite into, reeling it’s way into your body, up and up past your slowing heart past your feeling lungs, your paling face and eating into your brain. it takes your memories and sinks you into it’s life. oh god, i’m dying. i can see it in her eyes. she has beautiful EYES. they are so blue. i’m looking up at her and trying to smile. she is holding my hand, so sweaty. she is trying to talk to me…. shhh….. shhh…. her lips are shaking. why is everything white? is this a hospital? i’ve never been to a hospital before. ironic that the one time i go to a house of healing is to die. i’m dying. i felt fine yesterday. such a wonderful day yesterday. all my family was there and i cooked outside. the sun was a bright red and i held her close to me. such a perfect day.  the sky was colored with red, purple and blue as the sun set and her skin felt so soft. it slipped away so fast. so, so very fast. death is not a fair creature. it is hungry only, fangs glistening. i can feel it taking my body. i feel so weak. i can barely keep my eyes open. i want to look at her. i want to see her. fight this. you can fight this. you’ve fought so much. you’re better than this. you want to live. i want to live. i can fight this. she looks at me concerned. she can see the pain in my face. i need the pain. i need to stay. the pain is what make me mortal. the pain is what makes us mortal.

I want to thank GreenSpotBlue for choosing my book to share with their readers. Their support for my writing has always meant a lot to me. If you would like to check out the book, the link are up at the Upon The Ground page on this site. Thank you for reading!

Upon The Ground: Rise Up And Kiss The Wind

It is Tuesday and GreenSpotBlue.com is sharing another short story from my collection Upon The Ground. Today is the story, “Rise Up And Kiss The Wind.”

Here is the beginning from the story (here):

“Rise Up And Kiss The Wind”

He was back. Again.

And even though he returned once every five years something was final about this one. He knew it would be his last visit.

The old man could tell he was not long for this world. It wasn’t the fact that he wasn’t in the greatest health. He was in fine health and people in his family were known for long lives. It was a mental struggle. He no longer wanted to live. He was ready to shake off the mortal coils and move on.

And this was the place he was going to die.

It was perfect.

It was beautiful and serene.

It was more than just a cottage near the beach; it was part of his life. It was part of his being. It was the place where his life changed and led him to this destiny.

It was the place where his wife died.

Many people in the area have theories of why he always returned. He even heard two little boys yesterday call him “Old Man Death” when he was visiting his wife’s grave. But when he turned around to see the children, they were gone.  It’s amazing how cruel people can be when they don’t know what they are talking about.

You can read the rest of the story here. I hope you enjoy it.

Talking About Some Deaths in Literature

Death is kind of on my mind a lot recently. My grandfather (who I wrote about here), died on February 9 and the loss of him and how it has impacted my every day thoughts had really made me think about death in relation to a lot of things around me. In my author-esq head, it’s not surprising that literature found its way into the mental ramblings (or should we just be honest and call them distractions from reality?).

It seems many times we don’t take “dead” very seriously in literature. Unless it is gruesome (Hi, George R.R. Martin!), or the other characters are seriously changed because of it for the worse (Seriously, why did Little Nell have to snuff it?), many times it seems to float past us as a plot device. Is it because we have a long history of people returning to life in books so it doesn’t feel as final? (Aslan, Gandalf, every comic book character, and most religious stories, etc.) The corpse is rarely there in a story, unless it has just happened; that could be part of it as well.

Death in writing is a plot device. It is a tool both sharp as a knife and as a blunt as a sledgehammer.  We cheer when bad guys die. We look at a death sacrifice as heroic, not thinking of the final end that just happened to a character.

Is it simply because we don’t see characters as “human?” So maybe it is more a fault of us writers that a readers feels, or doesn’t feel, the loss. There might be something to it. I wrote a book, MEGAN, that is built around a death and I tried to show a character from being told of the death of another with all the initial stages of acceptance over the course of a day. Hmmm… Probably why the work isn’t as popular on amazon.com than my time-traveling adventure, My Problem With Doors. So clearly, death is not a selling point.

There is a lesson there  I learned that you will not need to now. You can thank me later.

Sometimes a death can slip right by, almost as an afterthought. My favorite example of this is the first Harry Potter book. One thing I love to point out to people is that Harry Potter begins with a double homicide. Yes, we see the scene later in the series (We get a little description in the first book, just a taste). And while JK Rowling does her best to take a light approach to that first chapter (Vernon in all his heavy-set foolishness), it doesn’t change the fact the story really started the evening before when Voldemort went into the home of the Potters and slaughtered them gleefully. Continue reading