Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eye Worm: Writing Prompt #3

It was a leap of faith...

The Sadists are Online

Click here to see The Sadists published on San Diego Writers, Ink's website along with the other winning entries...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Late Wicked Valentine

I just found out that I won San Diego Writers, Ink's Valentine Contest for the second time.  Yay!

The announcement is posted on their website here.

I'll be linking to their online publication of the story but in the meantime, here it is:

The Sadists
When he told you the girl in the picture was his cousin from California, he lied. 
Let me guess, you found the picture in a box of baseball cards?  Was it sitting there under the watchful eyes of Nolan Ryan, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Rickey Henderson?  That was where he kept all his treasures in high school, a paint can key with a bottle opener on one end, a dime bag of weed and condoms.  Sweet Jesus, he was so sensitive about buying those condoms; I thought I would have to do it myself.  But I was golden then, at least to him, in my Dr. Scholl’s clogs and strawberry Lip Lickers lip balm, so he went into the Woolworth and I waited outside by the wishing penny fountain. 
He has no cousin in California; didn’t you notice she wasn’t at your wedding?  How, by the way, did you confront him without looking like a terrible busybody?  Did he go all silent-mad like he used to?  Did his face clench up along with his hands, like he might hit something even though you know he never ever would?  Not that I was a snoop, we didn’t have that kind of relationship, the kind with the house and the kids and the dog that has chronic kidney failure.  What, you thought I didn’t know about the dog, how he started dry heaving in the laundry room and drinking from the toilet?  I know a lot more than you think I guess.  Come to think of it, we didn’t have your silence either.  Yelling, we had lots of yelling, then crying, and loving too.  Over and over, ad nauseam, ad infinitum until it was very clear that we were just tearing down the house brick by brick and pretty soon there wasn’t going to be anything left but a pile.
We rented this place over on T Street.  Not the real tony part of T, the grubby end by the trolley overpass.  The landlord listed it in the paper as a bungalow, but really it was just a box.  He moved in new his hi-fi stereo and I moved in my hand-me-down Corningware and we played house for a few months until we discovered we weren’t really good at it.  It was interesting though, about that house.  The lady who owned it told me that she had it moved from the other side of the park, just jacked it up, drug it over and set it in an empty lot she inherited from her confirmed bachelor uncle.  Why would somebody bother to move that crap-hole little box?
There were eight windows, two on each side, and none of them had screens.  It was summer so those nosey mosquitos alighted in and the sounds of our fights escaped out.  When I think about it, I can feel the rise of bug bite bumps on my arms.  I can smell the river rocks on his skin.  I can almost walk out onto the tiny splintered porch in my bare feet and lean into him, willing him to forgive me, willing him to see me as his angel again and again like he always did and willing the whole thing not to vanish like the season itself. 
I think he does the same.
It’s when I get the call out of the blue, him on his car phone and me at my old number still.  Instead of saying hello, he says things like, I heard that Hollies song.  Sure enough, I end up hearing that Hollies song, maybe just the end while I’m flipping through the stations, but I hear it too.
I haven’t heard from him in a while, longer than usual.  Do you think, in all that silence, he ever thinks about what it might have been like if he’d chosen a quiet life with me?  Maybe we’d have two kids, a boy for him and a girl for me, with his over the top dimples and my flat feet.  Our dog though, wouldn’t be like yours, sick and slowly dying in the sunny spot in front of the sliding glass doors.  That’s the thing about a dog imagined in the silence, she never dies, does she?  That imagined boy and girl don’t break your favorite glass pitcher on the patio or call the neighbor boy dirty names.  And I don’t go snooping in his baseball card box, his treasure box, full I’m sure, of exquisite garbage I will never hold.
The girl in the picture is me and I don’t imagine my place in the box is secure for much longer, not with your poking around, but keep this in mind will you?  You have his body now, there in your sturdy built house, its sunny rooms and clean garage with bicycles hanging from hooks he put up in the rafters.  You might have his hands and face and heart, but I will always have his soul.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Side Note of Note

 Click on the picture to go right to the photog's site :)

I got a reminder today that I need to give credit where credit is due.  The brilliant minds over at Living Locurto posted this message today and it reminded me that I need to credit the art I use on my site.  So, for the time being, suffice it to say that most of my images come from (fabulous site with free professional quality pictures for the using).  I am going to go back and link to specific users and non-morguefile pictures asap.

Thursday Writers: Back Alley

The prompt at last night's Thursday Writers was "Back Alley".  The stories were so darn great!  Here's mine:

The best part about the apartment on 14th street was the back alley.  Sometimes, I would get up at night and peek through the dusty brown aluminum blindes, their curved lengths crackling under my hand, out into the empty space there.  Invariably, there were the star burst bits of glass refracting the bright white street light, a golden Coors can smashed by an unseen foot, and a shoe.  Sometimes the shoes hung by tied too tight laces over the telephone wires bisecting the night sky above, but more often than not, one shoe missing her mate lay mildewing in my alley, my saving grace, my escape.  Because, in those days, the only comfort I knew besides that of Mamma, Daddy, Hop and sometimes the ephemeral Joley, was the sweet certainty that, if needed, I could escape.  They were coming, always coming, and even then I knew we'd never be able to hide in plain sight forever, but at night under my Salvation Army blanket, Hop's hot and weighty toddler head on the pillow next to mine, I could take comfort in just a little more time.  All we needed, I figured, was a little more time as a family.  Yes, they would catch us, take Momma and Daddy to jail (that part you already know) but I thought that if we just out ran them to next week, next month, next birthday, the three of us, Joley, Hop and I, could run our own dodos race for a while while we waited for them to catch up.  Of course, I couldn't have known how the fear of prison changes the rules of the race on you, so that even while us kids thought we were still running, Momma and Daddy had already changed everything.

Okay, now who else wants to share?  Please add your stories/poems/musings by comment or email (kristin at kristinherrington dot com).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eye Worm: Writing Prompt #1

"Tumbling into a heap..."

Run Ons: Friend or Foe?

I am a huge fan of run on sentences and use them frequently in my writing.  I don't so much consider them a grammatical error, per se, as much as a stylistic device.  So, when is it okay to use run on sentences in fiction (assuming that it's absolutely never okay to do so in expository writing)?  Apparently, never.  I Google searched the question (cool Dickens graphic today by the by) and got absolutely no validation in my results for this grammatical infraction.  However, I discovered that people are passionate about the semi-colon.  In lieu of joining the semi-colon or comma splice cults, I wondered if I could find examples of indisputable run ons in widely read literature.  My cursory search lead me to "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Tictockman by Harlan Ellison (more about that story's publication than you ever needed or wanted to know here).  The story contains a paragraph written entirely in run ons.  Here it is in all it's glory:
"Jelly beans! Millions and billions of purples and yellows and greens and licorice and grape and raspberry and mint and round and smooth and crunchy outside and soft-mealy inside and sugary and bouncing jouncing tumbling clittering clattering skittering fell on the heads and shoulders and hardhats and carapaces of the Timkin workers, tinkling on the slidewalk and bouncing away and rolling about underfoot and filling the sky on their way down with all the colors of joy and childhood and holidays, coming down in a steady rain, a solid wash, a torrent of color and sweetness out of the sky from above, and entering a universe of sanity and metronomic order with quite-mad coocoo newness. Jelly beans!"
The breaking of grammatical rules in a critique on uniformity is defensible, I'm sure, and I don't think there is any loss of reader understanding.  In my humble opinion, this is a successful use of a run on.  You can read the full text, if you are so inclined, here.

Does anyone have handy another example of a run on used in literature?  Please share...

Audio: Cross Wind

Click here to listen to audio of my reading at the SDWI Thursday Writers Anthology Release Party.  It was an amazing event in no small part to the efforts of our group's facilitators Judy Reeves and Steve Montgomery.  Thursday Writers is a cool gang of wordsmiths.

Monday, February 6, 2012

An Early Wicked Valentine

This is a deliciously wicked tale I wrote for the 2008 SDWI  Valentine's Day Contest (and won it too).


When we were teenagers he would deliver the present by hand, leave it on the inside of the gate meant to keep people like him out.  He’d leave a joint and a drug store teddy bear; items that were easy enough to hide from my parents who did not approve.  There was the long hair, of course, and the questionable family, of course.  I left for college and for life and eventually he did too.  Still, every year, the present would come.

Coming Soon!

Short stories, humorous anecdotes, the occasional poem and more...stay tuned!