Cassandra on the Island: Clovers

The following is the seventh section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.

Clovers

Cassandra pretended to like fishing for Jonathan’s sake. She pretended to like getting up early (“At the crack of dawn, family! That is five AM!”) She pretended to like touching worms and baiting them and waiting. She pretended to like waiting a lot.

“Can’t we go home yet?” Lucy whined.

God, Cassandra thought, why can’t I be more straightforward like Lucy?

“No, honey,” the Reverend sighed. “You’ve got to give it some time. You’ll catch something sooner or later, I promise. I’m actually sure of it. Peter and I dug up these worms late last night. Right Peter?”

Peter didn’t answer. It was obvious to Cassandra Peter didn’t want to relive that memory. Peter turned away from his dad, then looked down at his line, and then back out to the ocean.

Well, he’s a little bit more like me, Cassandra thought, Now where the heck did Lucy’s personality come from?

Lucy sighed again loudly. The Reverend didn’t notice the sigh (he was too busy whistling), but Cassandra knew exactly what the sigh meant. Cassandra leaned forward and tapped her daughter on the knee. They made eye contact. Cassandra smiled. It was her patented, ‘Get through this and I’ll get you some ice cream later’ smile. Lucy and Cassandra had this quiet exchange of knowledge down to a science. That was mostly thanks to all the stuff the boys made them sit through (from Peter’s little league baseball games to events at Jonathan’s church). This was just another one of those moments…. Just a great, great deal longer.

Cassandra looked out and away towards the ocean. It was almost seven and the sky had an eerie color to it. And the air… The air felt too calm… She shrugged it off. I’m just not used to being up and on the ocean this early in the morning, she told herself, it’s probably always like this. Over a thousand mornings she let slip by without even considering to rise and watch. She promised herself that when she was old and the children were grown, she would study the dawn more. The colors were beautiful.

Jonathan noticed her gaze and turned to the clouds. “That is odd.” Continue reading

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Disneyland’s Silent Gift

ResortThere is this time when you are staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotel when you can have it all to yourself.

It’s quiet, with the faint hint of music playing in the hotel lobbies in the background. I first discovered it when I offered to grab my wife one early morning a coffee at the shop in the hotel. But the moment I exited the elevator (and the haunting overture from The Jungle Book was playing in the speakers), that I realized I had discovered something unique.

It was still dark outside and I was alone.

I walked along the pool, passed the Tangaroa Terrace restaurant (with its fireplace still ablaze). There is a smell to Disneyland that I have yet to put my finger on, but the blossoms around the hotel and the restaurant added to its intoxication.

It was so peaceful that I almost felt a tinge of regret when the coffee shop finally opened at 6 AM and I had to make my purchase and return to the room and the excited kids. Dawn was approaching, a new day of adventure. Holding sweaty palms, wondering about bathroom breaks, and taking a lot of pictures.

That pre-dawn walk became a little ritual for me during my stay, and I picked up a coffee for my wife every morning at the same time. She always said thank you, but she didn’t need to.

It was for both of us. Continue reading

Toto the Spy: Dealing With My Little Brother

TotoThere is a legend around my brother’s beginning that may or may not be true. But really stories like this are best with partial truths, so I would rather not know how right this may be.

I was in preschool and my friend Gabe Gaddy (Yes, that is his name; I may have misspelled it though) brought his little baby sister in for show-and-tell. The reaction from the kids in the room and the teacher hit a nerve with me. Maybe it was jealously, I’m not sure, but when I went up for my turn I announced my mom was pregnant and I was going to have a little brother.

Yeah, I did that. Made up the entire thing.

Here is where things get a little muddy, either the story got back to my grandmother (who was head of curriculum for the school district) or it was the teacher calling my mother to congratulate her (I always like to imagine the story making it to my grandmother and her reaction), whatever the case my parents heard, putting them into a little bit of a pickle. Either they break the heart of their only son and have him announce his mistake in class (something that surely would have been memorable), or…

Less than a year later I had a little brother. Continue reading

The Issue With My Clock or the Post With Breaks

The Broken ClockMy clock has switched.

I’m not sure how this happened, but everything is upside down and it is the new norm I have to accept. I’m Alice in a world where the ceiling is now the floor, and that is just how reality will have to be. We are all mad here.

Let me explain this better: When you are young you are always counting up to experiences.

  • When I am 16, I will learn to drive a car.
  • When I am 18, I graduate and go to college.
  • When I am 21, I can drink (well, I don’t like alcohol very much, so I watch my friends drink…. I just have never liked the taste or smell of beer or wine. Okay, I do admit I drink a little but the stuff I do enjoy, the mixes, usually involve chocolate or fruity flavors and they can come in glasses that some would find embarrassing. Well, just the color would be embarrassing for many to be near. So I keep to the soda when I am out in public, because I like to believe I have a certain swagger in my step and a coolness that I aim to keep, and the fruity drinks don’t help).

More counting! Then there is a wedding… and a house…the first baby… and a second… And suddenly, right there, when you have reached your limit on kids, and they begin to age out of diapers and clothes… everything turns.

It’s like in one of those cartoons from the 1940’s where the clocks have a face and the hands are attached to the nose and they spin in a strange fashion. Well, that is my internal clock, and now with 40 fast approaching, I feel the face’s confusion.

I have begun counting down to things… The outcome at the end, I don’t want to even imagine.

(I need a break, just a second. I have a soda around here someplace.) Continue reading

My Awkward Relationship With Winnie-The-Pooh

The Original WinnieI’ve always had an awkward relationship with Winnie-The-Pooh, starting as a child and even reaching to now, the grown author with a blog.

Above, this post, in my cover image, you have a collection of items representing my interests and writing (some of my novels and scripts, favorite books, the all-important pretzels) and in the middle is Pooh bear. He is a part of my life, a part of what drove me to write and be who I am, but still an awkward member of the company.

I can’t begin to tell you how many visitors’ eyes are drawn immediately to that silly old bear. Every time people reference that image to me, they bring up the old bear (I have yet to have anyone ask about that pile of screenplays which makes me sad). And, not surprisingly, I’ve had people taunt me because of him; bringing back to the surface that feeling we all had in elementary school when teased by a bully. (You think you forget how it feels, you really don’t, it just goes into hiding.)

So why is he there?

Shouldn’t he be out stealing a pot of honey or something?

Well, it’s complicated. As Pooh would say, “Think. Think. Think.” Continue reading

Live in Los Angeles? Need a Photographer?

Example 1Hi readers,

As you know, I don’t typically do something like this. But over the holiday season, I had my brother, Adam Emperor Southard, take some new headshots of me for A JANE AUSTEN Example 2DAYDREAM and other appearances, etc. And I was so impressed I had no choice but to do this post. Yes, my brother earned my first official blog recommendation!

My bro has been a professional photographer in Los My family as The BeatlesAngeles, CA for quite some time and does a variety of interesting kinds of pictures from headshots to family portraits; check out his website here to see what I mean. Last year, I even had him do a photo of my family recreating a Beatles cover that we used for our Christmas cards. Yeah, his work is that awesome.

I hope you will check out his site and consider contacting him. You won’t be disappointed!

Re-Blog: Thanksgiving Shadows

Some people love the middle child. That is what I learned after writing the piece on Thanksgiving. I even had people tell me after that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, surpassing Christmas and Halloween… Really? Okay… Well, whatever you feel about this holiday, I hope you have a good one and you get to spend it with people that you love. I am honored to have the piece also running on GreenSpotBlue today. I hope you will check it out there as well- http://www.greenspotblue.com/world/2012/11/22/words-thanksgiving-shadows.html

The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard

It seems every year that Thanksgiving becomes more and more the great afterthought of the holiday season.

It is the hub between the ever more popular Halloween and Christmas, the great holiday hump day; in other words, like Wednesday it is not a weekend, but at least it isn’t Tuesday or Monday.

There are no Thanksgiving trees at Hallmark. No one has a turkey ornament. I have never received a Thanksgiving card

Worse, if you go to many stores today it is almost nonexistent in our world, except being remembered as the day before we can all shop like fiends… Well, some stores open Thanksgiving evening now, so maybe for the next generation Thanksgiving will become something akin to the food and water station at a marathon, the haven for that bit of energy before you get to it!

Run, my little shoppers, run…

Could it be argued that Black…

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Thanksgiving Shadows

It seems every year that Thanksgiving becomes more and more the great afterthought of the holiday season.

It is the hub between the ever more popular Halloween and Christmas, the great holiday hump day; in other words, like Wednesday it is not a weekend, but at least it isn’t Tuesday or Monday.

There are no Thanksgiving trees at Hallmark. No one has a turkey ornament. I have never received a Thanksgiving card

Worse, if you go to many stores today it is almost nonexistent in our world, except being remembered as the day before we can all shop like fiends… Well, some stores open Thanksgiving evening now, so maybe for the next generation Thanksgiving will become something akin to the food and water station at a marathon, the haven for that bit of energy before you get to it!

Run, my little shoppers, run…

Could it be argued that Black Friday has taken over Thanksgiving in importance? Possibly.  Our economy couldn’t live without Black Friday (and Cyber Monday); no one would say the same for Thanksgiving, save the Turkey farmers.

Gobble gobble, indeed. Continue reading