Free Range Fiction (and Occasional Poetry)

Hobbit writing

I’ve been considering putting this blog up for some time, so that I would have a good place to put shorter fiction that I just wanted to make available and which did not fit into the context of the Arveniem materials. I’m planning on posting short fiction, of course, and possibly chapters of works written for fun. No charge for these.

I also plan on posting some of my longer poetry. I have some pieces that are too long for the type of graphical presentation I’ve been doing with the shorter poems. And then there are some that I don’t want to present that way.

I hope you will find it all interesting. I will endeavor to entertain you!

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Mortal Thread, Eternal Cloth

I’d written this poem years ago, after a friend’s sister died unexpectedly. It seemed to me that our lives are woven together whether we think we are independent or not. God makes interesting things of bringing our lives together.

Mortal Thread, Eternal Cloth

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In the Now – Repost

I am working at updating the whole of my website, moving as much material off stand-alone HTM pages (for easier management). The poems that have been placed on graphic images have been a problem, in terms of where to place them. Do I put them with the artwork on the Graphics blog? Or here with fiction (and other poetry). I’ve decided to bring them here. Of course, as I move them, there are some hyperlinks on the site that I will have to update, but that’s the way it goes.

Anyway, about this poem: this was written in remembrance of Jack Gilbert shortly after his death four years ago. He was a gentle soul, a quite soul, a truly godly man in the best ways. He is much missed.

poem in the now over picture of sunset

Update: This poem was originally added to my website in April 2012. So I am creating backdated blog posts to match the original uploads, so it will appear twice in this blog.

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Morning, at a Tomb

About the woman morning spread its wings,
a gentle dove of rose-golden light,
the fluttering of its wings a patient breeze.
The earth was quiet, secret, holding back
the clatter of a waking world. She wept.

Garden of almond trees

She wept, while gentle clouds swept clean the sky.
She wept, while shining lilies danced delight.
She wept, while two small birds looped through the air.
This woman wept with heavy grief, her heart
As grey as stone. Surrounding her, the day
drew out from sleep, but in her eyes dark night
had claimed the world as its domain. Grey stone
before her formed a tomb, a well, a hole
which two nights since had swallowed up her Lord.
That night, the thought her heart would break with grief,
when, wrapped in hasty cloths they laid his form
upon the hateful, cold, unyielding stone.
That night, the sky had shared her grief, had stormed
majestic woe upon the world. But now,
that fickle sapphire dome welcomed the sun.
She thought her heart would break that night, but now,
where she had thought to find the form of love,
the hollow shell of him who gave them joy,
the corpse behind the sealing stone, was naught,
no man-form cruelly killed upon a cross,
no sign that he had once moved forth in life.
The thieving sneaks who stole his form away
had only let the cloth. How dark had day
become, how cold her heart, how empty lay
the world spread round her grief. A well of tears
sprang from her soul, a never-ending flood
of emptiness, a stream unnourishing.
How hollow was the world, was life, was love!
In death and darkness nothing stood secure,
and all the words and deeds were stolen clay.
“He’s gone! He’s gone! Why have they taken him?
They’ve robbed me of the dream I thought to keep,
the memory of love, when love was killed!
He’s gone, and now there is no dream, no ghost
of hoarded love to keep me on the Way!”
She wept, while morning broke the shell
of aging night. Yet still she was night’s thrall.

“Ah, child, why do you weep?”
_____________________She raised her head,
for youth had long deserted her, her age –
though not advanced – was well matured, her life
before her Lord had crossed her path, a thing
of vast experience. She was surprised.

The empty tomb

His feet seemed clad in earth, a rich brown soil
which sang of life, and ornamented too
with dirt the hands which gestured round about.

“Why do you weep? The day has come to life.”

She started up, and thinking him to be
the gardener, perhaps the one who stole
her Lord, her love, she cried, “Oh, please, tell me!”
Where have you taken him? Oh, give him back!”

The man seemed puzzled. “Give him back?”
_______________________________“Oh, sir,
you see this tomb of emptiness, where we
had laid our Lord! Have you removed his corpse?
Oh, give him back, that I may have some form,
some mass, some substance of his love, e’en if
he’s dead!”
_________The stranger stood before her, still
and calm as posture pools in early light.
His quiet spread about her like a cloak
to warm a chilly winter pilgrim’s way.
Her inner night-child tempest stilled its storm
as she regarded him in solemn peace.

His shining eyes began to dance with joy –
a strange surprise to her – and then he said,
“Ah, Mary!” Chiding laughter lit his voice,
the Lord of Life’s delight in his domain.
And at her name the woman’s heart was healed,
and all that she thought lost returned ten-fold,
not stolen or destroyed, and not confined
by any limits she had ever known.
His smile was light and life, and she who helped
to wrap his corpse would never more despair
of having all his gifts of godly love.

NOTE ON THE POEM: this was written several years ago, but I’ve not published it anywhere before. I’ve been meaning to post it the last few years, but kept missing preparing it for the Easter of those years. 

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Law & Order: “The Weapon”

The problem with writing spec scripts for television is that they become outdated fairly quickly. And then they just sit around. This is one reason why I’ve taken to posting out-of-date specs on my website as writing samples. I enjoyed writing them, and hope that at least one person out there might enjoy reading them.

Cast of Law & Order

With that said, here’s some background on this script: Law & Order: “The Weapon”

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I worked for a few years at the LA County Law Library in a clerical position. I got to see a lot of publications directed at the legal professionals, and some of their discussions interested and intrigued me. One issue that caught my attention was that for lawyers, there can be a distinction between legal competence to stand trial and who can qualify as a credible witness. In other words, credibility doesn’t have to be tied to mental competence.

This led me to wonder what would happen in a case where someone was not legally competent to stand trial, but might be considered a credible witness. Which led to this story.

Also, sometimes as a writer, you just can’t help but imagine certain actors in roles. The part of Jennifer Everett in this script was written with Blythe Danner in mind, her cool elegance and social grace.

To give you an idea of the period this script was written, the following list gives the names of the then-current characters:

Lt. Anita Van Buren; Det. Lenny Briscoe; Det. Ed Green; ADA Jack McCoy; ADA Serena Southerlyn; DA Arthur Branch.

Law & Order: “The Weapon”

As always, this script is offered only as a writing sample. All rights to the characters belong to Wolf Films and Universal Studios.

 

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In the Winter Night

I hadn’t been able to send out Christmas cards for a couple of years. But the impulse to do something creative for the holiday remained. The result was this poem.

A Christmas poem

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Psalm 4

house-in-rain

Oh Lord, bring me to a home,
@@@a place set for me;
Bring me to a resting place
@@@that restores my spirit,
A haven from the battering blows
@@@that attempt to knock me over.
You have walked with me in my wanderings
@@@and always I thank You for Your shield.
You have laid my path to stopping places
@@@blessed with loving care.
Even in the darkest night, in cold solitude,
@@@You held me safe.
And yet, oh Lord, I have no spot of my own.
My heart aches for a home
@@@where I know it as my own,
@@@where I can play host to others,
@@@where the works of my hands can give me joy.
I trust in You, oh Lord,
@@@to lead me to a home.
Let my place always be a shelter of Your grace.

cottage-in-the-rain

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Psalm 3

walking-strong-wind

When the challenges of life
@@@block me, oh Lord,
@@@be with me and guide me.
Unexpected stumbling blocks
@@@delay my forward movement.
Frustration of choices
@@@weighs down my heart.
How many times will I find myself thwarted,
@@@anxious about what might come?
I wind myself tight in the dark of night,
@@@and then the morning breaks
@@@and I see Your light over the jumble.
Many times Your hand has held me up,
Many times You have provided for my needs,
@@@I know You watch over me.
Help me in the winds of turmoil,
Help me weather the showers of worry,
@@@Calm my heart with Your love.
You reach through my thrashing,
@@@and bring me to a quiet place.
In the tempest, I remind myself
@@@of Your steadfast presence.

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Psalm 2

Woods-walking

Friends of the heart show forth the joy of the Lord;
They lift me up from the depths.
Thank You, Oh Lord, for the people
@@@You have placed on my path.
Thank You for the meeting of minds,
@@@where understanding sparks appreciation.
Thank You for the sharing of laughter,
@@@where moments of mutual delight
@@@run free outside boundaries.
Thank You for gentle concern,
@@@where a soft touch sooths
@@@a tempest of distress.
Oh Lord, bless these gifts
@@@You have set on my way.
May their hearts always be wrapped in Your love.
May their feet never stumble as they walk.
May I always return to them love;
@@@Let me never forget the blessing
@@@each has brought to my soul.
Rejoice, Oh Lord, in Your children who love
@@@and do not hold back,
@@@for they shine Your light in the dark places;
@@@in the pit of depression
@@@they are as bright suns.
Bless those who act from love and joy.

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Psalm 1

holding-hands-1

Oh Lord my God,
You have watched over me in many trials.
Day and night you have met me on my path,
Your presence has sheltered me in the dark night,
@@@when silence and solitude have battered at me.
Even when the follies of the world
@@@have shaken my footing,
You stay here with me, Oh God.
Let me never forget Your blessings;
@@@they have followed me through many days and months,
@@@even through the years.
Through all the challenges of childhood,
@@@Your hand has guided me.
Through all the yearnings of youth,
@@@Your wisdom taught me.
Through all the wrestling of work days,
@@@Your love sustained me.
May I continue to walk with You, Oh Lord,
@@@Companion and Teacher.
Lead me to Your purposes.
Let my eyes stay set on You always, wherever I may be.

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“The TWILIGHT ZONE Ending”

_____The flickering black and white images danced across the wide screen before the celebrating audience. The frantic male human rushed anxiously into the scene, crying out in protest: “It’s a cookbook!” The audience expressed its appreciation of this example of ancient human entertainment. Their digians fluttered and the rippling clittering bounced off the walls of the auditorium.

_____The house lights came up to daylight equivalent and the principal speaker moved to the podium that rose from the floor of the stage. She made the ceremonial obeisance to the hive-queen, who sat in the center of the front row.

_____“The Institute used many of these examples of human entertainment in our study of our subjects’ psychology. Our supposition was that we could deduce dominant patterns of thought in the analysis of their stories. The popularity of the series under the title The Twilight Zone led to its selection as fertile material for study. Its proven durability with the humans was a deciding factor. Indeed, as we progressed in our study of human psychology, we discovered the humans themselves had studied the phenomena of this series. There are a number of studies and commentaries in human archives concerning the so-called ‘Twilight Zone ending’.”

_____The orator paused to scan the audience. The hive-queen remained attentive, and for the orator that was the crucial thing. It was known — as was natural with the hive-mind link – that the queen had not yet selected her principal heir. All those of the worker caste were vying for the Kiss of Elevation, wherein the recipient would receive the enzymes and hormones that would raise them to nascent queen. The orator desired the elevation, and sought to prove her worth by demonstrating her part in the successful territorial expansion.

_____She resumed her exposition, energized by the memory of her success. “The selection of stories gave us examples of the human desire for conformity. In a significant portion of these tales, the principal figure in the story is at odds with the society around it. At the end of the tale, the principal character faces a dire consequence of being the outsider or learns a secret that others know. In the example just displayed, the principal character becomes separated from loved ones because it persists in studying something which its colleagues felt had been addressed. The Institute team enjoyed examining this particular story due to the motif of off-world territorial expansion.”

_____She brought up the next set of notes. “The human discussions of the ‘Twilight Zone ending’ focus on over-use of surprise as a story resolution, particularly when disconnected from previous elements in the story. From this, the Institute team concluded that the humans take comfort in conformity and frown upon surprise in courses of action. With this in mind, we developed the alpha wave broadcaster, which reinforced the desire for conformity and stability in the humans. Once the broadcasters came on-line, our forces were easily able to guide the humans into stable, productive activity in support of our territorial expansion. The efforts of my team in the Institute have caused the territorial subjugation to proceed with unprecedented speed. The humans, after initial resistance, were pacified and re-educated to our needs. Thus, it is with great pleasure, I am ready to declare Subject Stability so early, on this our first orbital anniversary of planet-fall.”

_____She made obeisance to the hive-queen again, as the audience flittered their digians. The ripple of clickings elated the speaker. She knew she had been bold in placing herself in position of primary credit, but none of her minioners would contest the claim. They were useful workers, but their imaginations barely rose above those of drones.

_____The speaker watched with suppressed excitement as the hive-queen rose to her pediants. She gestured for the speaker to approach.

_____A hush fell on the audience as they anticipated what was to come.

_____“Your initiative has proven of service to the hive. Receive now the Kiss of Elevation.”

_____The speaker moved forward, thrilling to the clittering of the audience.

_____Ka-BOOM!

_____The noise bounced off the hall’s walls. A fine film of dust precipitated down on the audience. Everyone, including the hive-queen, looked upward.

_____CRASH!

_____A central section of the ceiling broke free and collapsed down on the upturned insectoid faces.

_____Outside, the exterior walls crumbled following additional minor explosions. A single human stood in the roadway watching the collapse, holding the detonator control. The rest of the human population of the city was quietly conforming to the alpha wave broadcasts, safe in their homes.

_____The orator crawled out of the rubble, thankful the ceiling collapse had missed her. But the hive-queen had been crushed by the falling ceiling, before passing on the enzymes and hormones.

_____The orator must have made a noticeable movement, for the human turned toward her. It approached her and watched her with cold interest.

_____“How… possible?” she managed to gasp out at the human.

_____It frowned. She struggled to speak louder.

_____He suddenly realized she was attempting to communicate. He reached up and pulled a pair of plugs out of his ears.

_____“What’s that?” he asked.

_____She felt her cardiac organ jolt. Earplugs! It would not be affected by the alpha wave broadcast! How had the team not anticipated that innovation?

_____He crouched down to meet her gaze as she clutched the rubble. “I found your lecture most interesting,” he said.

_____She could not help herself. The investigator aspect in her personality needed to know. “I was right?”

_____A few seconds passed while it processed her accent. When it did, it began making the noise the team had cataloged as laughter.

_____“Oh, no. You misunderstood the nature of Twilight Zone tales.”

_____A distressed skitter escaped her mandibles.

_____He leaned closer. “What’s that?” She couldn’t answer, but he realized what she wanted. “They were horror stories,” he said. “Do you understand what that means?”

_____The assimilation of this information washed over her. They had greatly miscalculated! A species that explored its fears and horrors as entertainment would be far more resilient than her people had ever encountered! The heart-hive must be informed!

_____She tried to pull herself upright, but her limbs could not function correctly.

_____The human stood up.

_____He smiled. It horrified her. “How do you like my Twilight Zone ending?” he asked.

_____Her life fluids were oozing out. Her strength was waning. She must warn the heart-hive.

_____He looked down at her. “Too late,” he said. He put the plugs back in his ears.

_____The Resistance had begun.

(Originally published in “Literary Landscapes”, Vol. 3, no. 1, 2013, the journal of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society.)

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