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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Orin's blogerel

Orin Parker December, 2010

Seasons Greetings, Writing strugglers
The Holiday strains us word-jugglers
We must keep your muse engaged, our writing clear
So our novels, poems and essays in print will appear . . . next year.

Happy New Year, WRITERS’ BLOC
Maybe it’s time we all took stock
We write but shouldn’t we finally admit
That what we write we must submit?

The agents are there, waiting to attack
To tell us what our word-gems lack.
What we thought we had completed
They want whole precious blocks deleted.

Looking back, what have we published?
Doug and Carlyn’s books are printed
But now they’ve left us, sprinted
North to Oregon’s nature-loving call.

Ann, your creativeness still palpitates
Your weekly chapters fascinate
We glory in your golden phrasing
And find your characters amazing

Barbara, your life and how you bare it
We’re all pleased you let us share it
You find life’s deepest meanings
As you offer up your gleanings.

Bob, your many plots are dazzling
Your use of words is raz-ma-tazzling
You surprise us, push us near the cliff
Of propriety, And always provide of wolves a whiff.

Brix, you write and we expect a lot
From your exciting Mermaid plot
Sometimes, though, we’re no help
We need goggles undersea in all that kelp.

Carol, novelist par excellence
We stand in awe of yor tal-ance
Thanks to you, our dear professor
We struggle on, more or lesser.

Claudia, your entering in our group discussion
Sobers us. You quieten our loud percussion.
You educate and inspire us in your reading
We know your published story will be leading.

Dave, your amazing tales and travels
We marvel as your complex plot unravels
But you always bring a story fantastic
To twist our minds and leave us spastic.

Eileen, your gifts are spread so wide
We’re not much help, though all have tried
We wish you well as you publicize
your art and verse. Your song is wise.

Evelyn, we miss your clever tales
Of wizards and their strange travails.
We hope you’re writing and completing
Your stories. Come rejoin us in our meeting.

George, your remembering translates
And takes us back to football greats
Exciting history, now almost lost
today . And at what a cost.

Gordon, your stories are great and poems greater
You must have an idea incubator
Our simplest precious memory detail
You craft in words that fill our sail.

Jean, your Civil War love epic calls us
The careful moving plot enthralls us
Romantic heroes, battles, love and spies
Will soon be bringing readers’ sighs.

But Jean, you’re the managing Mother
Of the Bloc. You’ve become major other
Who worries, helps and serves our group
You provide us with our weekly Chicken Soup.

Joe, Italy’s medieval memorabilia
Enhances the story of your “famiglia”
History and sorcery you’ve intermixed
We try, but do we help you get it fixed?

Laura, you’ve just joined the Bloc
So how to know if we’re the Doc
You want to help your wandering plot?
It’s great writing, impressing us a lot.

Louise, your fascinating women
And stories with mayhem brimmin’
We love the way you twist and turn
Your people in plots we often struggle to discern

Susan, your FairyTail puppets
Are equal to our favorite Muppets
The stories that you carefully spin
We miss you well, please come back in.

Thomas, actor, dramatist, composer
For whom we all become supposer
The lyrical wit and wisdom of your writing
Provides each week a candle-lighting.

Orin, your rhyming’s worse than awful
By now the Group’s had their craw full
You could quit if you were ahead
But, alas, you never leave things unsaid

You’re out of novels and tiring prose
But the computer beckons you. Compose.
You still retain your taste for critical
Why waste your time on things political?

But let’s return to Carol, our indoctrinating Muse
Who sees us sometimes win and often loose
What would we do without your words
That carefully peck at us like hungry birds
Looking for meaning, then ascertaining
If we’re really on track or just no-braining
You buoy us up with careful praise
And then occasionally will raise
The question why we write the way we do?
What can we say, Carol? It’s because of you
We want your comment and attention.
We need your care and frequent mention
Treat us firmly when we’re wrong
But sing to us some time your approving song.

Hey, the New Year’s almost here
Maybe publishers will suddenly appear
Who recognize our rare ability
Before we slide into senility.

Or maybe in the millennial brain
No word-combinations remain
That have not previously been used
And all our work will be refused

As being in the past created
By authors, like us, but celebrated
Who put their work into the hard-drives
Of the computers that now rule our lives

We’ll continue to write and face the future
Our rejection scars the Bloc will suture
Reading to our Writers’ Bloc, we’re published HERE

Monday, September 20, 2010


In honor of those who died on 911


by RW Richard

A wall of searing blue flames pressed Hussam to the melted and broken windows. He couldn’t breathe and the heat was hell.

“It’s you,” the pretty girl from personnel said. Over the months he had stolen glances of her and she did the same, both gutless wonders.

“I’m Hussam Fayyad, your boss’s boss.”

“I know. Save your breath. I’m Sarah Bernstein.” He knew.

They locked their hands, tight. Leaned out and hesitated. Then, Sarah’s wavy auburn hair caught fire.

“Marry me.” She screamed from the pain, tears evaporating. Taking off his jacket, he wrapped her head.

“I will. I do.” Holding hands tight, they jumped out from the ninety-ninth floor.

“I do,” she tried to say—her breath pushed inward by the rush of air—not that he could hear her anyway. She closed her eyes, he held unto her like a vise, as if they were one. Perhaps now they were.

“Mom and dad I’d like you to meet my fiancée, Hussam Fayyad.” Her folks' home, a big split-level in Oradell New Jersey, had beautiful large tile floors, a modern kitchen, with a menorah on the table. The candles had pooled on the table top.

“I guess it’s stupid for me to tell my daughter she should have chosen a nice Jewish boy?” Sarah’s mom asked rhetorically.

“We’re soul mates,” Hussam said.

“We’re besherte, mom.” She put it in Yiddish terms.

He dared not open his eyes and lose this vision of her mom and dad. He had always thought about Sarah, trying to get up the nerve to ask her out. Worried of cultural, political, and religious differences. He didn’t believe in treating women like second class citizens, not at work, not in marriage. His hiring practices and office policies touted the heart of a modern liberated Moslem.

“We’ll always love the thought of you,” her mom and dad said, hugging him.

“We have to go to the wedding now,” Sarah said, pulling his hand.

At the wedding, Hussam’s little brother carried the ring on a purple pillow. Sarah always knew Hussam would come by, lean on her desk, ask her out. They’d marry, have three kids, two girls, one boy, or the other way around. They both wanted to be outvoted in either case. These gorgeous kids would grow up brilliant and loving, real menches; oh yes, two dogs, just right.

“I am so happy to have you in my heart.” Hussam’s parents, both a little portly, hugged her by the orchids stationed at the first row of seats in their garden. Tears turned to rivers. Images rifted through her of falafel, lamb kebob, along with gefilte fish, Manischewitz Blackberry for the toast. Bruce Springsteen’s band struck up, ‘Here Comes the Bride.’

“He took my hand,” she explained to his mom and dad by way of apology.

“Thank you pretty Sarah. My son, he always work, work, work.”

She wished the world a better place, maybe a little less work, a little more love.

“He needs a strong Jewish girl to love him,” his dad said. They kissed her cheeks.

“I always had and always will love him,” Sarah said. She had harbored a tiny love, like a seedling, hoping to water it. No doubt about her feelings, now.

Martin Luther King without thinking forgot to add one word, Moslem. “. . . when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews, Moslems, and Gentiles, Protestant and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.'”

Sarah’s heart beat the rhythm of Martin’s words. She felt Hussam heard and saw Martin with her at the Lincoln Memorial, because he squeezed her. He’d never let go.

I am within you, Sarah.

I am within you, Hussam.

“Great Grand Papa.” Isaac Bernstein was gassed at Auschwitz, yet thin, young, suspendered, a silly fedora, munching on a pipe, his eyes opened to heaven.

“You bring the right man with you, mazel tov. Hussam’s great grand mom and pop are at the bridge table with your great grandma, waiting for me to come back. You see, I’m the dummy. Those two died in Gaza. Bam, to pieces.” He splayed his hands.

At the wedding, Cyndi Lauper spread her many orange, red, and yellow petty coats on the back step. With a sad face, she sang, 'Time After Time.'

The Rabbi and Imam smiled from under the canopy on this day of brilliant blue. They finished with one voice, “in death you will start, because love is eternal.”

Almighty God, Allah, blessed them, opened his arms and said, “kiss already.”

We kissed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm dashed.

Last night I showed my Robin Hood short story to my Filipina born wife. "I don't understand," she said. Let me be perfectly clear, I've stuffed this Harlequin bound (hopefully) short with tons of verbs, and a dash of middle English cleaned up to make sense. "I don't understand." Well, I'm going to bring this up with the Bloc when we meet.

I'm writing for people who love Regency and Knights in shining armor romances. Do I simplify the language? I think I'll need to dig into some of my hundreds of romances (my wife's), find this type and check the prose.

Apparently Robin Hood never traveled to the Philippines.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three R's for Writers

I love reading. It's almost, but not quite, as pleasurable as writing.. Words are my toys, my games. My lifelong relationship with words sometimes becomes adversarial. I think the words are mine, But they seem to belong to others as well. I swear they weren't cliches when I first wrote them. Anyway, I always find a surplus of words pushing me to put them on paper. But no matter how carefully I arrange them on the page they don't make it on their own.
So maybe I should just give up and READ. And, of course, CRITIQUE. My Writers' group, Writers' Bloc is a strange group of people who believe that words are, more important than deeds. These writer-gypsies keep me motivated and their critiques keep me humble. A writer needs friends who know first-hand how hopeless and debilitating and humiliating it is to write, who accept you even when you come up with pure garbage.
Our writer-teacher sets high standards but she's tolerant. Somehow we know she forgives us even when we don't make sense. This group is trying to help me with my fifth novel, EMBASSY, The Lord knows they've tried. But maybe it's time to take it out of Assisted Living, publish it online and move it into LONGTERM CARE or HOSPICE.
As for me, maybe I should become a consultant, an expert on novels that are not quite good enough to publish, that don't have that "bottom-line" promise that sells in these over-entertained times. Maybe I'm even negative enough to become an agent. I'm very good at reading far enough into a novel to discover it's not worth finishing. I've partially read dozens of published novels and decided they weren't worth my reading time.
But when I visit the bookstores I'm puzzled. Why are there so many of these mediocre novels on the shelves where my mediocre novels ought to be? PARKER

Writers' Faire at UCLA

Last Sunday I braved the freeways to LA to attend the Writers' Faire at UCLA thinking all the way that I must be crazy to expend this much time, gas money, parking money and mental stress on what was probably just a glorified advertisement for expensive Fall writing classes.

I was wrong. It was really worth it. First time I've been on the UCLA campus. It's lovely. Interesting vendors at the Faire - friendly, helpful and not at all pushy. I learned about organizations I'd never heard of and a lot of events that sounded incredible. How about this: a Lit Crawl Saturday evening at The Echo on West Sunset Boulevard? As the poster (which I now have on my wall next the my computer) says, "It's a f**king Read-Off." I just might be tempted to make the freeway trip again to experience that one.

Made me realize that, great as living in San Diego County is, we're missing so much fresh and exciting stuff going on in LA. It has the big city buzz, bursting with creativity. Okay, let's face it, Ann, you're a country bumpkin and you can stop gushing now.

So anyway, after checking out the vendors, I went to four mini-classes, each about 40 minutes long. Four Writing Profs in each class: one moderating and three discussing their take on the subject. Classes I chose were: "Writing Your First Novel", "Creating Compelling Fictional Characters", "Giving Voice to Your Words" and "Art of the Short Story".

All excellent teachers. What they taught was helpful and enlightening, how they looked was fascinating - a dead ringer for Santa Claus, a punker with dyed black hair and tattoos, a European sad sack in a fedora, a wholesome blonde girl next door. I wanted to take all their classes.

Next time there's a Writers' Faire at UCLA, I'll be there with bells on.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Book Design

On Saturday, July 23 I attended a Publisher and Writers of San Diego meeting. The topic was book design. The speakers came from TLC Graphics. Some of the tips they gave: book covers should have four colors. If possible carry an element from the cover (for example: a design around your brand, a stripe at the edge of the cover or a shade behind the chapter heading) to the interior pages. Color on the interior pages will add to your costs, but will also add a the professional look to the book. Book designers can work only on your cover or treat the entire book with proofreading, design, turn your book into an e book. have book printed. All book text should be fully justified. A box around the text adds to the appearance.

Introduce new paragraphs with either a space or indentation, not both. Be careful of quick conversions from printed text to e book. Scanners make mistakes, such as turning fancy h into a b throughout the book. Production process takes from 6 to nine months.

A cover only design ranges from $300 to $2000. Complete design process with the printing of 1000 copies ranges from $10,000 to $12,000. Turning your text into an ebook only costs $300 to $500. Average cost for proofreading is $25 per hour.

New in cover design: Ebossed title; debossed title; hard copy books without jackets; matt background color with glossy title. If you are a relative unknown, then title should be larger than author name.

Signs of a poorly self-published book: header on first page of a chapter, two spaces between sentences; double dash instead of en dash. You may use a space on either side of an en dash or not, but must be consistant.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

the query process

Dear Mr. Me,

While the plot for xxxx is definitely interesting and unique I don’t think it is well suited to Special Edition. With the suspense/mystery elements this story sounds more suited to Silhouette Romantic Suspense or perhaps Intrigue. These lines to my knowledge prefer to receive all proposals and query letters via the mail so you could send your query letter to: xxxxxxx

Thank you and best of luck with your submission.


She gives the name an address of the appropriate editor.

Previous email (below) included the synopsis which I won’t bore you with. But I want to thank you all for your critique of it, which after I made corrections and submitted led to this series of emails.

Dear Ms. xxxxx,

I noticed my target, Harlequin Flipside, has been retired. I’ve written a contemporary romantic comedy (55,000 words) set in the New York/Philadelphia region and cities. I wasn’t sure which imprint to query, so I called customer service and they recommended starting with Silhouette Special Edition. Also, you and I corresponded about using third person for all characters. If I might trouble you one more time; if you feel this belongs somewhere else, please let me know.

My story, xxxx, investigates the romantic entanglements of male identical twins, one an artist, the other a comedian. Both enjoy the dubious habit of swapping places. Their fiancées, a lawyer and psychologist, are hell bent on stopping the boys’ shenanigans, and getting them to the altar. The double wedding holds one last surprise.

I have written one screenplay for NBC. I’m now a full time novelist, and have written two novels previous to xxxx. I enjoy the earnest work of my critique group every week.

Thank you for considering my story,

Me, etc.

Next: is my response to the top email:

Dear xxxxx,

I'm sorry, I should have written a more precise synopsis. The Mafia allusions are just comic interludes to enrich the story and help a character driven plot. Like Susan Mallery's "A Little Bit Pregnant" the break-in scene was much more about Zane and Nicki than getting in trouble.

If you'd like a small piece of the story to see what I'm doing, let me know. Otherwise I'll regroup and investigate the other catagories.

Thank you so much,

Me again

The reference to Mallery's novel was appropriate becuase she writes for their imprint. It's nice to have a thousand (at least) romance novels in my home.
Stay tuned…

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Learned at the last Publishers and Writers of San Diego meeting of a web site, which you may use to investigate your potential agent's recent sales and types of books sold. Don't you just love that name? I can picture a bunch of publishers around a table bragging about the deals they've pulled off. Also learned at the meeting: the term "self publishing" has morphed into "independent publishing;" a book title should be no more than three "emotive" words; and the title speaks to the heart while the subtitle speaks to the head.

An agent speaking at the Del Mar library this month told us that children's books are always in demand, especially ones written for boys.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Marx Brothers mirror scene

I thought I'd try something new to me; clipping an exerpt from youtube. What follows is the mirror scene from Duck Soup with about four minutes of the movie's set-up for the scene. The mirror scene was used (abused) in an excerpt I read today from my novel Swap. If you like the scene, youtube has many versions of it, some of which just show only the mirror portion which is about four minutes (of pure lunacy).

The Marx brothers in the movie, Duck Soup, 1933.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Saying Goodbye

I write the end of my first novel, The Outreach Committee, finding myself grieving for my characters - even the ones I've killed off. I've spent years getting to know and understand these people. My first book, Sweet Justice, contained twenty two short stories. I spent short periods with each set of charachters then, and didn't suffer separation anxiety as I do now.

I'll start writing another novel soon, but the characters will be new acquaintances to shape and form. Will they be quirky? Sweet? Intollerant? Murderers? All of the above? Yes. That's my style. You writers out there, how do you handle end of the book grief? Please advise.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

last session

I appreciate the critiques last session. Suggestions worked. Usually I guess because it's poetry I don't get that much action.
My first blog. Keep getting dragged into the modern world.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Writing Memoir


“I never thought of you as being rebellious,” Dee said. She was half way through reading a part of the writing I had been working on recently. We were sitting in a neighborhood café called “The Family Restaurant”. Not much creativity in that name! I had chosen a table in a far corner where it was as quiet as possible. We wanted to talk and I wanted to give her a chance to read a part of my memoir.

Four young construction workers on their lunch hour in a booth nearby were having a fine time talking too loudly and laughing and joking together. The television sounded off above the counter. The waitress greeted a customer with,

“Hi! Bill! How are you today? As usual, our specials are on the chalkboard over there…….The baked ham sure looks good.”

Through the noise and clatter of very informal “dining” Dee and I tried to visit. Then, while she read, I looked around the room. I tried to appear nonchalant about Dee’s reading. I didn’t want to rush her. I wanted her to be able to get the full import of what I was trying to say on paper. It seemed she was really surprised about what she was reading.

“I just can’t believe that you were ever rebellious”, she reported about the teenager I was revealing to her. She stopped every once in a while to comment on things like, “You really felt that way?” and “Is this really true? About you?” After a bit more reading she questioned, “But when I knew your mother she was such a beautiful lady, so gracious and kind. I never thought she could have been like that”.

“She was very loving then too, but as she was raising us, she was really still affected by her earlier attitudes as a flapper in the ‘20’s and her responsibilities as "Mother". Our relationship changed through the years since then, and we did too”.

Dee stopped reading every once in a while to tell me something she was reminded of about her childhood. Although I was impatient for her to get on with the reading, I realized that I was accomplishing my purpose. I was tapping into my reader’s bank of experiences and she was finding common ground with me although we had very, very different backgrounds and personalities. Since I was sitting there with her, she could share these thoughts with me. If she had been alone while she read, those thoughts would have come to her but remained silent. She would not have paused in her reading, I hoped! I mentally noted where she seemed to pause to reread something. I intended to go back and check out those places to see if I could reword them to make them clearer. She finally finished reading and said that she enjoyed it very much.

We ate our lunches. Dee had her fish and chips and I had my sandwich of freshly baked ham and lettuce and tomato. As usual, we both asked for white styrofoam boxes. We put the remaining halves of our lunches in them as “carry outs”. Dee was a widow and lived alone and her carryout was for her supper that night. I always took mine home for breakfast the next morning. I never liked traditional breakfast food, except for bacon and eggs. There was nothing special about the food but the place was convenient and on the way to the supermarket.

Later in the car on the way to shop, Dee made a pensive remark, “You know, I think I like you better since reading that you weren’t perfect when you were young.”

I thought, “Whoopee! I’ve hit the jackpot!”

Dee always said that she considered me her closest and best friend. We had known each other for almost thirty years. We knew each other’s joys and sorrows. We confided to each other on many of the events in our lives. I knew I had told her about my teen years, but this time she “heard” something that hadn’t registered with her before. I had managed to break through the mystique that she always seemed to attach to me, her “teacher” friend.

. . .

“Why would I want to expose my faults and imperfections to my readers?” That was the question my husband asked me after reading another even more revealing part of my writing.

“Because it’s “Me”. I’m striving for absolute honesty.”

I was still fumbling for a more complete answer. There’s no sense in writing if I don’t give people some meat to chew on, something that causes them to dip into their own being, to grow, to change, or to understand me better.

I wrote about my life ever since I started keeping a diary in grade school. The diary is long gone but as an adult I threw the sheets of longhand into one of several cardboard boxes out under my worktable in my craft room. I don’t know but what the silverfish have gotten into the boxes by now and reduced my literary jewels to flakes of well shredded paper! I frequently used journaling as therapy to help get me through some very difficult times.

Recently, I began to do some serious writing that I hoped will be interesting to my descendants, if someone values it enough to save it! It is my intent to tell them what life was like in the late 1900’s and the new twenty first century. I recognized my writing as journaling. I became bored with “Just the facts, Ma'am” as Joe Friday, the detective used to say on “Dragnet”, a popular weekly TV serial program in the 1970’s. I began including reflections and attempts at reasoning in my journaling.”

When someone asked me what I was writing, I’d reply almost apologetically reply, “Oh, just stuff about my life.”

Then another good friend, Lynne, told me of a class offered for seniors ("the elderly") at nearby California State University San Marcos. The title of the course was “Writing Memoir”. We enrolled in it and that professor turned on the proverbial light bulb. Here was just what I had been leaning toward all along. I learned that memoir is much more than just a factual reporting of events that took place in one’s life. It is the product of processing the facts, ruminating on them, and coming up with concepts of cause and effect, or growth, or progress toward changed behavior. It involves analysis rather than just recording.

Maureen Murdock in her book, “The Unreliable Truth” states,

“The memoirist…both recounts an event and muses on it. “What meaning, what value do I attach to how my life has unfolded? How did this happen? How did that happen?” Finding out the truth of what happened could certainly challenge one’s sense of self.”(P.12)

“A memoir is a slice of life about which a writer muses, struggling to achieve some understanding of a particular life experience. A successful memoir demonstrates a writer’s slow coming in awareness, some reckoning with herself over time, some understanding of how her unconscious is at work. Because of this reckoning, the writing of memoir is not without pain. A memoir that successfully taps the reservoir of universal human feeling resonates strongly with its readers.” (P.24)

“Each memoirist has a different purpose in undertaking the writing of memoir, but each attempts the risky task of excavating specific events in order to understand the truth of her life.”(p.54)

“Lauren Slater challenges the reader to examine the nature of truth as she constructs her memory in her book, “Lying”. She asks the reader to confront the veracity of the masks we each wear, the stories we tell about ourselves, our families, our lovers, what we do for attention, affection, and acceptance: and how we make our way in the world.” (P.55)

Because of what I learned in that class I became able to answer the question, “What are you writing?” with “I’m writing memoir. It means that I have to try to be absolutely honest in telling a part of my life story. It contains social commentaries and spiritual insights that come to me as I remember and write about it. It‘s kinda like saying, ‘and the moral to the story is…”

If more explanation seems necessary I say, “Memoir is different from autobiography and journaling. It’s a very personal slice of life, not one’s whole life. I want to share with my reader some commentary and insight. In my case I hope to show changes in my character, both good and bad, as related to my position before God. It was not always constant and it wavered dramatically according to my obedience or defiance of God’s will, His Word the Bible, and His commandments. I hope my writing will explain how I became the person I really am today”.


These events in my life are absolutely true, to the best of my recollection. However, to engage and hold the reader’s attention, some of the material is presented as stories rather than as exposition or narration. This necessitates the construction of conversations from long ago, that cannot possibly be quotations. The dialogue is designed only as a vehicle to illustrate relationships and situations between actual characters in my past.

With this as an introduction, I humbly offer my readers the following memoir entitled “Impaled…………”



Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This is now out in comic strip form and being considered by Bear Delux.
These two-legs take everything of mine. Their huge dens surround me. My mate is gone. Our pups died by the legs of a big-squasher, and dirt-thrower, sat on by a two-leg. It is better to be on top of the big-squasher.

I prowl night and day, mostly for big-ear hoppers. What will happen when they are gone? I cannot eat these prickly plants or stick-me bushes. I cannot eat the sand. If I get by the two-leg dens, there will be more dens and they will put a hole in me, like the one I licked on my mate before she died.

One day I prowl by the dens and spot a big round two-leg with fur under his nose and his smaller sun-speckled faced two-leg pup watching me, both with big eyes. Strange, every chance I get I hide. Every chance they get they look for me. Leave me alone, I chase big-ear hoppers. They are fast, but easy, really. Just be ready to lope between them and their nests and then be where they want to go, before they get there. But these two-legs do not need my food. So they can stay away.

Fur-Nose, and Speckle-Face look, and once-in-a-while Fur-Nose’s mate looks. But what do they want? The Earth Mother favors me anyway. They will have to be good to me.

I am hungry today. The big ear hoppers are hiding. I am very hungry tonight. I had to eat a two-leg’s meow hunter. But, I did not eat Fur-Nose, Speckle-Face, and Mate’s big furry hunter.

Their hunter does not bark at me, does not bark at all. She just stays by Fur-Nose and Speckle-Face, and watches me. Hey, I am not that good looking. I hide but she must smell me, because I smell her. I am lonely, so I will not eat her. Maybe we can have pups. But, No-Bark will not leave her big den.

I stare. I promise, I will not eat you, but she just smiles back.

Every day and every night, she watches me. The two-legs try to see me. I stare back at No-Bark and then hide.

No-Bark has thick two-shade fur and a tail that says, follow me, play with me. She has a tail like my own, and ears like mine but smaller. I cannot get her. I will not climb over into the big den; Fur-Nose might kill me with his hole-maker.

At the end of another day, I fall into a hole a two-leg on a big-squasher made. Stupid of me, the earth falls down. My leg goes the wrong way. I cannot get out. It is too deep, and I am too broken.

I guess I will die here. I have no mate, no pups. I am dead already.

Speckle-Face and No-Bark look down at me with a piece of lightning fire. Just go away, you see me here, I am hungry, I will bite you, I am broken, and I will die. Then, they will eat me.

No-Bark cries and stays, while Speckle-Face goes and comes back with Fur-Nose. Fur-Nose has cow skins on his hands and many other animal skins all over him. He reaches down. I bite hard on the cow-hand, he makes a big noise, but tries again. Now, cow would be good food, but not Fur-Nose; he is too salty, and these two-legs are too scary.

Just let me die. I give up.

He pulls me up. He holds on to me, as if I am a two-leg baby or his Speckle-Face. Hey, I am not a pup anymore. Stop it. Their eyes never stop looking at me. No-Bark jumps and sniffs. Why? What is the use? I know, take me to your den, I will die and you all can eat fresh meat. He takes me to a two-leg who sticks me with a tiny piece of stick-me bush. I wake up and my leg is in chalky stone. I gnaw, but I cannot break the stone and it tastes terrible. So, I give up. I go to Fur-Nose’s den. The den has many little dens inside, with two-leg things everywhere. One day Fur-Nose takes me back to Stick-Me. He sticks me and I wake up with no stone on my leg.

My leg is good now.

Back in the den, I eat the strange food No-Bark eats. I hide from Fur-Nose, Speckle-Face, and Mate, but they just smile. Speckle-Face is always making happy noises when he sees me. I like him, but I still hide. Mate sounds like a bird. They all make great smells from the food place, sometimes for me. Oh, burnt cow is very good.

No-Bark howls every night. I yip and howl. Sometimes we howl together. What a strange den it is. It has trees that go sideways with many trunks. I often think I should mark these trunks, but No-Bark always gives me the no look. It is a den. I understand. So, we pee on the little plants, under the hot sun and the cold moon.

I could climb over the den and run, but I have no mate, I lost my pups. And, big-ear hoppers are hard to catch, these days.

One day, other two-legs come and they all make angry noise at each other. They take me back to Stick-Me. This time Stick-Me is sad, when he holds the tiny piece of stick-me bush. He is going to kill me. Held down by vines, I cannot move. I give up.

Fur-Nose and Speckle-Face come in with another two-leg who has a string of flat flowers down his chest and large white leaves in his hand, which he waves at Stick-Me. I go with Fur-Nose and Speckle-Face. Stick-Me smiles.

Many two-legs come to see me in the den. They build Fur-Nose’s den higher on the outside under the hot sun and the cold moon. No-Bark sleeps with me now, and she will have our pups.

Fur-Nose and Speckle-Face sit and look at me. They push my fur. I do not know if I like it. I often hide, but they always find me, and then they look at me, and touch me again, and again, and again. I give up.

I will like this someday. No-Bark does.

One day I think I like it; I like Fur-Nose and Speckle-Face. I love them and No-Bark. Mate hides from me, but I prance. My eyes see her eyes. I am not that good looking, but she will like me. Then she will love me, and I, well, I already love her. Fur-Nose, Speckle-Face, Mate, No-Bark, and I do-not-know-my-name smell, hear, and watch the big-ear hoppers, but they are impossible to catch these days.

Fur-Nose, Speckles, and Mate call me Coyote. No-Bark does not call me anything. She licks me and so do our puppies.

* * *

Monday, May 3, 2010

You're the One That I Want

My first try at YA.

Summer arrived, no more school, just a ton of summer reading, and my first true love, whoever she was. The moms and dads were talking about building a community pool. In the meantime, I was carted off to a pool down the road maybe 15 minutes by moms taking turns with station wagons. They hauled me and my noisy friends. I became quiet. I was more interested in another station wagon, which I couldn’t hitch a ride with, because I was a boy, still am. Hey at fifteen, I already had played spin-the-bottle and hung out for a while with a different girl every other week. I kissed a lot of the girls in the neighborhood, but somebody in that other station wagon made me curious, Margie, a fourteen year old beauty with the sweetest smile. Margie was untouchable because she was a good girl, a real good girl. A girl my mom would be so proud of. She had no experience with boys, but I’d change all that.

Down a dust clouded dirt road we rambled to a pool surrounded by hide-and-seek sand dunes and pine trees. There we would read, play tag, race. I was the fastest swimmer, but Margie wanted to catch me or beat me to a wall. I wouldn’t let her. She was so sweet, but her parents protected her with a ton of rules. They wouldn’t let her out of their sight, except for these innocent trips to this piece of heaven called a pool, where they left her with some of her girlfriends and other moms as chaperones.

One of her friends mentioned she thought Margie liked me, a nice surprise. She wouldn’t tell me how she knew, “Oh just a hunch.”

I talked about it with my guy friends, more to stop competition than get approval. This went on for two weeks. I really had to make some sort of move before one of my friends ruined it all for me by stealing her affection, but I feared rejection. I certainly couldn’t try the day Margie’s mom assumed hawk duty. If the right mom stood guard, maybe, just maybe, she'd look the other way, or better, just smile at young love, and keep a secret. I knew the right moms. I prayed. I also prayed for bravery. You never want to get rejected, your friends might start snickering, and worse Margie might not come to the pool anymore. I’d forever lose her.

I sat down on one of the three blankets with all the kids, picking a little bit of pine tree shade. She sprang out of the pool like a mermaid and plopped right next to me on the spot I maneuvered by stretching out then withdrawing my legs as soon as she came close. Her girlfriends giggled for some good reason I hoped. This had to be it. Mrs. Julien was on duty. She loved us, had an open mind. She’d keep a secret. Her laughing smile under dark black sunglasses meant to me, what are you waiting for.

“I’ve got some extra peanut butter and jelly to swap,” I said peeking at Margie’s locked gaze and holding out the wax paper with the sandwich for her inspection.

“How about a Tastycake for half a sandwich?” Margie asked, giving me that I can’t eat all-of-that look. Just maybe behind those sweet eyes, she was feeling the same crazy excitement I felt. I’d explode if I were a balloon. So how would I find out if she felt the same?

“Do you like to play cards? I asked.

“I’d love to.” She said. More giggling. My heart swelled. I could hardly look at her, but I had to, I was the guy. I had to lead her, but I wasn’t sure just where. Margie was still just a kid in a young lady’s perfect body, perfect for me. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’d take a chance. I made my plan.

To be continued . . .