Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

I’ve been so busy with “stuff,” I almost forgot to post about the beginning of a new course that I am enrolled in. It’s Fiction Writing through Gotham Writing Workshop, led by the same instructor as my previous Creative Writing 101, Chip Livingston. It’s week two, in which we learn about CHARACTER. This week’s assignment is to list five personality flaws I see in myself, pick a flaw, then give this flaw to a fictional character, who may or may not be similar to myself and show the flaw in action in under 500 words. I don’t like the word “flaws.” I rather prefer “idiosyncrasies.” So, I picked one of my idiosyncrasies and gave it to one of the main characters in a story that I started last week. I exaggerated and tweaked it, of course, since it’s fiction writing. I would greatly appreciate if you, upon reading the scene, could tell me if I succeeded in showing the unnamed idiosyncrasy(ies). What do you think my character is struggling with?

Her phone rang. “Yes?.. At the toy store… No, I am not done yet… I don’t know. The freaking store is full of ’em and I’ve no idea what to buy… Why don’t you join me and we’ll be done and over with… Of course, you can’t! How could I forget: You never have time for such mundane things…Gotta go. Bye.” Grimacing as if she swallowed an entire lemon, Alys returned her cell phone in the pocket of her jacket and resumed her quest for the perfect toy. Toys, actually. Her sister, Lisa, had triplets: three adorable baby girls, three cute objects for doting by their parents, relatives and friends alike. What do you get for the babies who want for nothing?

She heaved a sigh and continued along the endless isles filled with dolls, transformers, Lego sets, small soldiers, cubes, stackers, puzzles, toy cars, toy trucks, ducks, teddy bears, winny the poohs, piglets, tigers, lions, kittens, musical boxes, books with pictures… With all the bright colours screaming at her and making her head spin, Alys slowed down in the baby section and froze at the sight of an enigmatic blue monster reminiscent of an octopus with a crazy eye attached to each of its eight tentacles and complete with an eerie toothless grin. Are you kidding me? Is this horror meant for babies? She grabbed the toy and squeezed it lightly.

The monster squealed.

Alys winced, threw the toy back on the shelf and spun on her heels. Maybe instead of trying to pick the most attractive toy… She smacked herself on the forehead. How could she possibly know what toys babies find most attractive? She kicked at the bottom shelf in frustration and glanced around surreptitiously: to her relief, toys were the only witnesses of her outburst.

Chewing on her lip, she pulled out her cell phone to check the time. Oh, crap! She had already spent two hours inside the store and was still empty-handed! Lisa would kill her if she were late tonight for the triplets’ birthday party. A hot wave of anger, anxiety and frustration washed over her. She tore her jacket off and was about to throw it angrily on the floor, then thought better of it, took several deep breaths and raised her face toward the top shelf so as tears welling in her eyes didn’t spill and ruin her makeup.

A middle-aged woman with a look of deep concentration on her face stepped into the narrow isle.

“Excuse me,” Alys said quickly, swallowing her tears and forcing the friendliest smile she could muster. “Do you happen to know what kind of toys are liked by babies?”

The woman broke off her concentration and smiled back at Alys. “How old is the baby?”

“One…I need three. Toys, I mean. They are triplets, my nieces. Today’s their birthday,” she said all in one breath.

“Oh! That’s a doozy!” the lady exclaimed shaking her head. She eyed Alys noting her dishevelled appearance. “But I am sure it can be helped.”

There was nothing special about the nice lady, but Alys could have sworn that for a brief moment she caught a glimpse of a halo above the lady’s head and heard angels sing.

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Photo challenge brought to you by Frizztext

Digital art inspired by 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.

Moonlit Meditation, image by reflectionsinapuddle

To see other M entries please visit this page.

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Sunday Post brought to you by jakesprinters

For my dogs the biggest pleasure (after food and treats, of course) is fresh snow. And for me, it’s a great pleasure to watch them play and roll in it, dipping their noses and eating it. The only thing they haven’t thought of yet is making a snowdog.

dog and snow

Eat. Image by reflectionsinapuddle

dog and snow

Play.Image by reflectionsinapuddle

Beauty tip: Did you know that a snow mask is really good for your skin? So refreshing…

snow mask

Love. Image by reflectionsinapuddle

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vortex of colour

Image by reflectionsinapuddle

She floated in darkness, tranquil, like an autumn leaf on a puddle, when, from an ocean of nothingness, a tiny speck of light the size of an ant’s eye blinked shyly and lodged at the base of her soul. As she focused on the light, it began to swirl and shimmer, vibrating and expanding, until it burst into a myriad of shards, carving an opening in her heart. Through it she fell into a wormhole filled with incessant chirping of legions of invisible crickets. The wormhole twisted and turned, its raging waterless rapids battering her like a leaky raft. She was falling… whether eons had passed or a second, she couldn’t tell. At some point, it came to her — she was falling upward.

As her endurance began to wane, the wormhole suddenly collapsed, and she was in the dark again. But this time there was a change. She felt tingling in her palms. Weak at first, the tingling grew more intense with every breath she took, spreading through her body like a forest fire. When it reached her face, her lids fluttered, and she opened her eyes.

She found herself curled up in what seemed like a cave with its porous walls lit up with faint green light; she sniffed at the wall, then licked its surface – it was rock solid and tasted of sand and fire. Following an ancient instinct, she began to crawl clumsily in search of an exit, twisting her sinuous body and clawing at the rock under her feet. After coming across the same crevice the third time, she realized she was going in circles and… there was something else. As she looked in disbelief at her sharp talons and a long powerful tail covered with scales and spikes dragging along, her mouth opened wide, as if on its own, and a blood chilling shriek rolled out of her throat, an echo bouncing off the walls like thunder.


“Jake, Jake, wake up! You have to look at this… Now, quick, come to the window!”
“Go back to sleep, Sam…”
“Look, look, Jake, the moon is cracking! Just like an egg!”

Jake yawned, rubbed his eyes, and got out of the bed. If that again had to do with the elusive monsters hiding in the closet, his younger brother was in big trouble. Jake didn’t bother with the slippers, just headed straight for the window, and stopped dead in his tracks: outside, a huge glowing orb of the moon was suspended in the black sky. The orb cracked open, like an egg, and spit out a creature that looked part like a bird and part like a snake. The beast regarded the two gaping boys with its emerald eyes, unfolded a pair of magnificent wings, and soared toward the stars, its serpentine tail waving. Farewell.

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I took this week’s theme to heart and went to town — literally and figuratively — indulging myself.

First, I visited a home decor store and treated myself to some colourful displays:

Home Decor Store


Shiny Stuff

Shiny Stuff


Brooms with Character

Funky glasses

Fragile & Funky


Comfy & Indulgent

After I’d had my fill of shine and colour, I went to a bookstore next door:


Fiction Section

and got myself some books:


Bedtime Stories, Stories of the Sea, Dog Stories

What’s not to love about this week’s challenge?! That was FUN! I should do it again some time.

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Another photo challenge showed up on my virtual door step, courtesy of my blog’s new visitor Fergiemoto.

H Photo Challenge Horses

Horses & History at Heritage Park. Image by reflectionsinapuddle

I photographed these beauties and a shy, yet happy, cowboy in our local historical village Heritage Park that showcases the West as it once was. If you happen to be in Calgary, Alberta, especially during warmer months, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the park. And if you find yourself in our neck of the woods in July, you should definitely spend some quality time at the Calgary Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on earth (so they say, but you have to see it for yourself :-))

Horses and carriage

More Horses and History at Heritage Park. Image by reflectionsinapuddle

Join in the A-Z Challenge this week … find an image that makes you think of an ‘H’ word and link up with Frizztext  Happy Hunting!!

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Chip Livingston

Chip Livingston

Chip Livingston  is the author of the poetry collection Museum of False Starts. His fiction and non-fiction are also widely published, in journals including Ploughshares, Cincinnati Review, Potomac Review, Court Green, Subtropics, and Crazyhorse. He holds a BS in Journalism and a BA in English from the University of Florida, an MA in Fiction Writing from the University of Colorado, and an MFA in Poetry Writing from Brooklyn College. He teaches creative writing, poetry and fiction at Gotham Writers’ Workshop, where I am currently taking creative writing 101. I asked Chip if he could do a short interview for my blog, and he kindly agreed. Some of you submitted questions for Chip; they are included in the interview. I appreciate your participation very much. I would also like to thank Chip for his insightful responses.

Natalie (reflectionsinapuddle): Do you write for a specific audience? If so, how would you describe your ideal reader?

Chip Livingston: Usually I don’t write with a specific audience in mind. With poetry, I keep in mind that not all my readers are poets or even poetry readers. I don’t want to deny anyone access to my work, so I hope I am making myself as clear as possible.

There are times when I’ll see a call for submissions from a literary magazine I admire having a special themed issue, and sometimes this will spur me to come up with something appropriate to the theme, but that’s not a common inspiration. Usually I just try to write what I think will translate to the page.

N: What are you working on right now?

ChL: Right now I’m proofing the layout of my new book of poetry, “CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK,” which will be published May 1, 2012 by New York Quarterly Books. I’m writing new poems for the eventual third poetry collection. And I’m trying to revise an old novel manuscript to see if it’s salvageable. And constantly working on short fiction. I’ve always got a couple of stories in process.

N: Could you tell us more about CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK?

ChL: CROW-BLUE, CROW-BLACK is a project I’m really proud of. It’s poetry, and the book is divided in two sections, Crow-Blue, which covers the southerner’s experience in New York City, and Crow-Black, which covers the experience of the North American in South America. The first section is strongly influenced by the New York School of poetics, whereas the second section is more influenced by Native American and South American literature.

Catherine: What are  your suggestions on getting published. In your experience, what was the best route to take? What were some of the challenges you faced?

ChL: Catherine, the best way for an unknown writer to publish a book is by getting it in the hands of someone who would seriously consider it. In poetry, the typical route is through “first book contests” run by small, independent or university presses.

Usually, the manuscripts that win these contests contain poems that have already been published in literary magazines, and especially when sending a manuscript to a press for publication consideration in a non-contest scenario, being able to mention that you’ve previously published some of the contents of the manuscript individually can help you get your work a more serious look. The best way to get individual poems and stories published is to read and submit to literary journals. There are many hundreds, if not thousands, of literary journals in print and online that accept submissions from writers, and these are usually the first places beginning poets and prose writers “emerge.”

Catherine: How do you feel about self publishing now that companies like Amazon and Apple make it possible to do?

ChL: Another good question. I think electronic books and the ability to distribute them through Amazon, Apple and other outlets allow for a lot more writers to have access to sharing their words/works, and there are several well-known examples of these self-published titles getting such a record of sales and recommendations that they catch on to big presses and get the book put into ‘print.’

The drawback [of self-publishing] is advertising and distribution. If a writer self-publishes, how does he/she let the world know that the book exists. Traditional press publishing comes with some plan of media promotion and the press has contacts at bookstores across the country or world as well as access to online and electronic sales.

If you want your book to change the world, you need an agent or publisher with a network of connections to get your book to the world.

Malena: My question is about the roles of writer and author. When is it that one can say he/she is an author?

ChL: Malena, the way I think it’s generally accepted is that an “author” is a writer who has published a book. I think of the ways authors and writers are written about in bios in literary magazines and blurbs, and if they have published books, the bio will generally refer to the writer as “The author of __.”  Or “Jane Doe has authored five books of poetry.”

N: You travel a lot. Do you find your inspiration in discovering new places?

ChL: I absolutely attribute much of my inspiration to new places and new things in new places, new perspectives. And learning and speaking Spanish has also given me a lot to think about in terms of sentence structure and the ways words can combine to modify each other.

N: Have you ever experienced being “chased” by a poem or a creative idea?

ChL: Yes, there have been times, even with the writing of “Yesterday my father was dying,” where the words themselves rattled in my head over and over until I had them on paper, though the initial impulse was witnessing the ants carry the cricket like pall bearers carrying a coffin.

And I had the experience of having the ghost of a poet follow me around and whisper poems to me. It was a once in a lifetime occasion. A professor loaned me a poetry collection by Tim Dlugos because she said she saw something similar in my recent work to his poetry. I became obsessed with the poet, felt like his presence was literally following me around, and I asked the poet Kenward Elmslie, who was the owner of the building I lived in, if he knew anything about Dlugos, and he told me that Dlugos had lived in my apartment twenty years earlier.

N: Sounds like a great idea for a novel! Speaking of which, your first novel is unpublished, but won numerous awards. Can you tell us more about it?

ChL: Yes, it’s the project I’m thinking of returning to. It won a contest from University of Arizona Press, but the press had a very similar manuscript under contract (two gay Creek Indian novels) and they worried the two titles would compete with each other. My agent at the time didn’t want me to sell it to a university press, so we agreed not to publish it with Univ. of Arizona. It won another contest as a short story collection, because much of the novel had been published as short stories, but the contest press said they thought it was a novel and not a story collection, so they withdrew it from consideration. I took a lot of the material and turned them into poems that went into my first poetry book, and lent its title, MUSEUM OF FALSE STARTS. But I worked so hard taking it apart that when Univ. of Oklahoma asked me if they could read and consider it a few years ago, I felt it was unpresentable. Now I have it in mind to see if I can put it back together again. Wish me luck.

N: Good luck with your novel! I would really like to read it some time.

N: We often hear that a writer has to “show-up” to do his or her work. But what about talent? Do you think it can be taught?

ChL: I think talent can be taught. Ideas can be nurtured and texts can be studied as examples. I don’t think any writer starts out great. It takes practice and practice and practice and practice, and then editing and editing and editing and editing. I don’t think it takes any special gene or gift to make something artful, but it’s not easy. It takes showing up for the work and the prewriting (of reading) and postwriting (of editing). I absolutely believe that everything I know about writing has been either taught to me by my mentors and professors or has been taught to me by the authors of the books I read.

N: What was the best piece of advice you received from your mentors? And what is the best piece of advice you can give to your students and aspiring writers?

ChL: The best piece of writing advice I received was from poet/novelist/memoirist Linda Hogan, who remains my all-time favorite writer in any genre. She told us in a fiction workshop to always try and “write two pages past what you think is the end of the story.” I particularly had the tendency to end the story right before the punchline, so it was good advice for me.

My advice to aspiring writers: Read good literature and study it. Don’t give up.

N: Once again, thank you very much for the interview! Maybe you could share with our readers one of your favourite poems by Chip Livingston?

ChL: My favorite poem so far is from my first book. It was first published in Ploughshares literary magazine.

poem by Chip Livingston

That owl was an omen
Driving home from the airport
Not once but twice
It rose in my headlights
From rain black asphalt
Great white wings nearly touching
Windshield wipers    that low flying escort
Stretching sixty miles toward Alabama
The owl was always right
Something died and something else
Was just about to
I checked my daughter’s red-eye slumber
In the rearview mirror
No need to worry her with divination
An hour drive delayed by rain
And now this trepidation on the slick black road
Certain as miscarried fortune
Her coming home to Mama in an autumn storm
And no such thing as California
Just a red clay creekbed down the road
From the house I birthed her in
Filling up to bathe away a sorrow
Blinking lights behind us
Before I hear the sirens
Firetruck passes on the narrow bridge
Then Crabtree Church in flames beyond the graveyard
My daughter wakes and guesses lightning
But I never heard the thunder crack
And only saw the lightning white of dreaded wings
I pull in   step out   open an umbrella
Stand with the firemen    watch the frame fall down
The Marshall asks if we saw anything
Like kids driving away in a four-wheeler
They found tracks in the mud
Whiskey and beer bottles    a gas can
Burn!  All those years of homecoming
Annual dinners on the grounds
Hymns around a weather-warped piano
Burn!  My granddad’s Indian education
Walls that heard a thousand lessons
A thousand prayers in high soprano
Burn!  Fifty paper funeral parlor fans
Cokesbury hymnals and sixteen pews
Reduced to flakey carbon tamped with rain
The death of wood and glass
And half a baby’s ashes in my daughter’s pocketbook
All the little names we’ll never sing
I aim to find that messenger again and scare him off
Litter the road with his insolent feathers

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Photo credit: crol373 (Creative Commons)

In his recent newsletter, Jeff Goins, writer and blogger, whose blog I follow, had a statement that made me pause. “Nobody wants normal anymore. We all want weird,” he said. The Internet is a noisy place; if you whisper, no one will listen; if you follow the norm, you’ll miss the boat.

Assuming I was also lumped into the royal “we” who wants weird, I put the statement to a test by examining my reading tastes and habits. I asked myself, as a reader and consumer of printed and online word, do I want normal or do I want weird? My thought process stumbled at yet another question: what is “normal”? And what is “weird”? Then a phrase by Kelly Cutrone came to mind: “Normal gets you nowhere.” This business of figuring out some abstract normal and no more specific weird is quite a doozy, I tell you. What’s normal to me, may seem weird to you, and vice versa. So I’ve finally given it up, for pure lack of abstract imagination.

But the question remains, do I want normal or weird? How weird does it need to get for me to start paying attention? In my interpretation, it means “how itchy and scratchy do I need to get, or how out of place do I need to feel.” As far as I am concerned, I think I’ll stick with normal, whatever that means. I like relevant topics and pretty pictures in blogs, and good plot, characters and dialogue in fiction. Above all, I value good writing that reflects author’s individuality. I like when imagination takes flight, but there is still a sense of reality, at least some reality that follows its own logic and makes sense within its own constraints. And I think what Jeff actually meant by his phrase was “we want individuality and originality, and not some run-of-the-mill mediocre verbiage that is so shopworn, it makes us want to puke.” He just wrapped this long-winded phrase into something punchy, pithy, and … weird. And he got my attention. How cool is that?

Now, what do you think? How weird does it need to get before you start paying attention?

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“… the first step toward being a writer is to hitch your unconscious mind to your writing arm.” Dorothea Brande

First, please allow me to explain what morning pages are. In a nutshell, it’s a form of premeditated self-torture — of a sophisticated kind, mind you — for refined individuals like you and me. That is if you look at it from a psychological point of view, because the scribbling of morning pages occurs, as the name suggests, in the morning, first thing after you get out of bed. You wake up 15 -30 minutes earlier than your normal routine (in my case it happens to be 5 am), drag yourself to your kitchen table or your desk, whichever is nearest, and scribble away for 15 minutes while still half asleep. From a technical point of view, it’s free-writing at its finest – as free of inhibition (and sometimes intelligent thought), as a nudist is free of clothes on a nudist beach.

Why not call it journaling then, you might ask. Because there is one significant difference between morning pages and a journal. With the journal, there is no limitation as to when you can write in it. The morning pages, however, must be done in a zombie-like limbo state, before your waking mind hijacks your full attention, and your inner critic starts punching you in the face and kicking you in the butt. Your main objective in this pre-dawn ordeal is to keep your hand moving across the page for a set period of time, writing anything that is not complete nonsense.

Like in free-writing, you write whatever comes to mind, as fast as you can, without giving it too much thought, and you, or your inner critic, are not allowed to correct. That’s why my MPs look like notes of a mental patient. I don’t know about other morning scribblers, but I am never able to decipher what I’ve written afterward. And that works just fine, because you are not supposed to read what you’ve written anyway, at least for several days. But even after several days, I am not inclined to read my MPs, lest I lose heart and  claim those extra minutes of sleep. All I read is usually the title of the previous page. Today it happens to be “Day 59.” Tomorrow, the title will be “Day 60.” No need for dates or re-reads. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. Perhaps, that’s the best way for me to keep my overactive critical faculty at bay, at least for a short while.

Another rule with MPs that will make you scream is regularity, meaning you are supposed to write your MPs every day seven days a week. I break this rule every once in a while. So what? Do I look like a superwoman to you? I didn’t think so. But writing MPs for 59 days, almost straight, is an accomplishment I am proud of.

By now you must be pretty intrigued. You must also be thinking I am obsessive-compulsive or downright crazy, otherwise WHY on earth would I do it? Well, crazy can’t even begin to describe it. My psychiatrist said… Gotcha! 🙂 Actually, contrary to common sense, writing MPs helps me maintain emotional balance. It is also partially responsible for this blog and my creative writing pursuit.  My morning page challenge convinced me that MPs are a powerful inspiration machine, a perpetuum mobile of creativity. Try it and see it for yourself. The trick is to stay with the challenge for more than 35 days straight, 40 to be sure. It may vary for different folks though. Some say it takes 21-28 days to form a new habit, while others say the magic number is 66. I say 40 days, because this is when I began to feel the effect.  Before the MP challenge, I would sit at my desk, staring at a blank page and asking myself,”What should I write about?” Now, my question is “What should I write about first?” Before, I couldn’t drag myself to my computer to write and would come up with all kinds of excuses, like the need to do the dishes right this moment, or walk the dogs, or make dinner. Now I have to curb the time I spend writing, because dishes need to be done, the dogs walked, and dinner made.

Of course, writing MPs alone won’t make you a new Chekhov or Proust. Not right away. But it will help you establish a habit that you will be thankful for for the rest of your life as a writer, artist, and a creative person.

Just to make one thing clear before I wrap it up. As you might rightfully suspect, I didn’t come up with the idea of morning pages myself, and I resisted it for quite some time. I made three attempts at it over several years, but each time I would quit after seven days of writing MPs. I’ve learned from my mistakes and finally found the format that works for me: I do it in longhand, there are no computers involved, because when I use a computer I tend to re-read and correct what I’ve written. I also write no more than 15 minutes on weekdays, because I don’t want to be late for work, and a little longer on weekends.

Three books that gave me this wonderful crazy idea:

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande
Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge

And if you are a morning scribbler yourself, I would love to hear about your experience.

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As I mentioned in my previous post, I would like to share with you what I’ve learned in my CW101 class so far. I’ll start with my second week’s assignment and skip week one. That one I’ll save for later, because it has the potential to become a full-fledged story, and I would like to work on it in secret. Just to be sure I am not infringing on anyone’s copyright, I checked with Gotham’s administration about what I can and cannot share about the class. I was told two exercises are OK. (I suppose I can share my own stories (not the actual instructions or themes), because stories are mine and I can do with them however I please.)

Assignment rules the way I remember them: Write a scene under 500 words, based on a short “telling” paragraph. Stick to the facts; show rather than tell.

The paragraph the way I remember it: Mick and Loretta, are driving along a lonely wintry highway. Suddenly they hear a loud noise. They start bickering about who’s been drinking. Then they get out of the car to only find … nothing.

Just a couple of notes before the actual scene. I didn’t want to write in 3rd person (whatever it’s called in proper terms.) And I didn’t want Loretta to be the narrator. I didn’t come up with the title as it was not required by the rules, but tried to stick to 500 word count and found it incredibly hard. I actually wrote over 600 words, but then had to pare it down. I struggled with the collision paragraph, because it was  hard to incorporate the loud noise into the story — it would change everything, and the scene wanted to be written with a “heavy thud.” Oh, almost forgot: the female character swears.

I will greatly appreciate your ideas about how I can improve the scene without increasing the word count. I haven’t gotten any feedback on this yet, so you can go to town ripping it apart. I think I’ve grown thick enough skin to take criticism, if not with acceptance, but at least with dignity. 🙂 Enough talk though.

~ \ ~

The night fell and enveloped the world in a soft blanket of falling snow. A ribbon of treacherous ice that was the highway streamed beneath the wheels of my Land Rover. On both sides of the road, pine trees raced — solemn, watchful, wary — their spires reaching for the pregnant firmament that was about to collapse under its own weight and relieve itself in one monstrous dump.

I looked at my watch. 8:05 pm. We had to hurry. If we didn’t reach the cabin within the next hour, we could be stranded in this godforsaken wilderness until morning. I glanced at Loretta’s profile silhouetted against the backdrop of the blurred hibernal landscape – she was fast asleep. My left hand on the steering, I rummaged through her purse with my right hand, fished out her cell phone and checked the screen. Just as I expected, the screen flashed lugubriously “No Service.”

I was about to return the cell to the purse, when suddenly, with a heavy thud the Rover shook like a giant beast and lurched into the empty oncoming traffic lane. I slammed on the brakes, and the truck screeched to a halt barely an inch away from the edge of the road.

“What the f*** was that?” Loretta croaked.

“I’ve no clue. I think I hit something.” I replied unbuckling my seat belt and shifting the gear into “park.”

“What could that be? A deer?” Loretta asked. She turned around to look at the highway.

I followed her gaze, but couldn’t see much – the rear view was half blocked by snow.

“Mick,” Loretta was now staring at me, her eyes glistening with suspicion. “Have you been drinking?”

“No. Why would I be drinking?”

She continued to stare at me in silence, her eyes growing harder, her mouth tightening and turning into a straight line, her chin pushing slightly forward. At that moment, she looked like a pitbull ready to attack.

“You tell me why,” she finally uttered. Her hoarse voice didn’t portend forgiveness.

“I haven’t,” I coughed up, my throat suddenly dry. “I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in my mouth for several months.” It was a lie, but she didn’t need to know that. Not now, not ever.

“And you expect me to believe this? Of course, you haven’t been drinking. Why then are we sitting here in the middle of nowhere and having this conversation?”

“Get off my back,” I opened the door and jumped out of the quietly humming truck. Loretta followed suit.

We made a few steps in the direction where our collision ought to have occurred, expecting to see… something. A deer?.. Santa Clause? All we saw, however, was a deserted highway, sentry pine trees, and a promise of big trouble if we didn’t get out of here soon.

Loretta touched me lightly on the shoulder. “Listen!” she whispered. I strained my hearing, and realized that the world grew quieter than in a coffin.

“The truck!”

The end

Related posts:

Adventures in Creative Writing

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