The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

18 April 2017

Pushy reversals

On the highway this morning was a very large, very long transport truck. On the rear panel, in a font large enough I could read it from 15 cars back, was this: DO NOT PUSH
I should have a sign like that following me around like a cartoon thought bubble.

In the parking lot, I watched the maneuverings of a woman parking her SUV. She was reversing into her chosen space, carefully inching backwards, correcting left and right until she had her vehicle tucked in just so.  The funny thing is, it was a drive-through parking spot.

People are endlessly entertaining.

12 April 2017

12 short stories, the third

Title: New Life
Genre: Speculative fiction
Word count: 1000

She hurt. She hurt all over. Even her eyelashes felt bruised. She braced herself, preparing for the deep pain sure to come and opened her eyes.

With a grimace, eyes wide, she gingerly turned her head and saw what appeared to be a tunnel. It was dark green in colour, nearly absent of light. It looked to stretch on to nowhere and - with a careful turn of her head - came from no real where either.

It was a struggle, but she managed to sit up. Her head was clearer and she could see that the dark green was actually foliage, dense to the point of resembling a woven fabric. She did not recognize this place. She did not know where she was or how she came to be there, but she did know she didn’t belong there. She knew she wanted out of there.

Taking stock, she determined that, despite the all-encompassing ache, she should be able to get to her feet and move. That’s when she noticed her appearance. It looked like she had been through a battle: dirt coated her clothes, palms raw with scrapes, mud clinging to her boots, and most frighteningly, a vine curled snugly around one ankle. She tugged at it, then tugged harder, with little effect aside from rising panic. She managed to clamber upright and took a step forward with the other foot thinking to forcefully pull the trapped one free of the vine. To her surprise, the heavy rope of vegetation dropped away. She took quick, anxious steps forward to get away from the thing, then stopped with the realization she didn’t know where to go: there was no clear path to follow, there were no landmarks to guide her, and she could see no horizon from which to get her bearings.

She would just have to move forward, then; forward being the direction she began with. But she was immediately pulled up short by, she saw with horror, yet another vine twined around her ankle. Panic mounted higher, exacerbated by the heavy thickness of the air she had to struggle to take in. Her mind began a refrain: “Get me out; get me out; get me out…” How was this happening to her?

Again, it was the simple act of walking forward that loosened her from the snare of the vine. And so it went for what felt like hours. As long as she kept in motion, maintaining forward momentum, she was able to forge a way through the dark tunnel, but as soon as she stopped she would become entangled once more.

Reaching a state of exhaustion to the point of struggling to move her limbs or keep her eyes open, she realized she couldn’t go on any further without taking some rest. Giving the matter some thought, she began searching out rocks and stout branches with which to construct a sort of barricade behind which to refuge for a few hours at least. As she found suitable specimens she filled her pockets, then used the bottom of her shirt as a basket of sorts, clutching the ends of fabric until the weight became too much.What she had at that point would just have to be enough.

Without being too clever about construction methods, she arranged her building material in a rough oval shape, just large enough for her to curl up inside of. She took care that every part of her body and clothing was within the perimeter, then, despite how rough and uncomfortable the ground, she fell swiftly to sleep.

Untold hours slipped through the dense forest tunnel as she slept without dreaming. There was no rising sun to awaken her, or early birdsong to disturb her slumber. When she opened her eyes it was to a world that looked much as it had when she’d closed them. Struggling to bring her protesting body upright, she was relieved to see that her barricade had done its job: she was free of clinging greenery. With equal relief she noticed that on the larger leaves in arm’s reach of her fortress were drops of heavy dew, and that by bringing the tip of a leaf to her mouth she could drink of the water.

Thirst slaked, she stood inside the protective circle and took stock of her situation. She could see no food so she would have to remain hungry for now.  With no clearer idea of direction or destination she would carry on as yesterday, one foot in front of the other in a steady march.

Accustomed to walking through the green darkness, she was able to pay attention to her thoughts, which, she realized, were actually quite busy. She had vague impressions of herself before waking up here. There had been light, certainly, and laughter, but also noise and fear and emptiness. Was she trying to get back to that, or had an attempt to escape it brought her here? She had to get out of this place, but felt her connection to anything from before first waking here was fading.

Now knowing the trick to escaping the green snares, she regularly took time to rest. As time passed she realized she had made a sort of peace with her circumstances and acceptance resulted in relative calm. One step then another was all she could do, so that is what she would do. When hunger became unbearable, she would figure out what she could eat. When she became too tired to continue, she would again construct a barricade and sleep until she woke once more.

Finally, her mind took notice of what her feet had been telling her for some time: the lush vegetation had become considerably thinner. There was more light and the air was no longer heavy. Each step was easier than the one before. Moving more quickly, she soon found herself standing under the last tree at the edge of a vast meadow. A gentle rain fell, and the bright sun kissed her face.

06 April 2017

This is dedicated to the one I love

There are perks of being a cataloguer. Best of all is being able to see the new books and things as they are unpacked.  It need not be said - and yet I shall write it anyway - that my wish list resulting from all this seeing of new books is several pages long, and on my work desk is a perilous stack of books I think of bringing home if only there, the shelf, two chairs, night table, and floor space I have given over to books I intend to read in the next few days weren't already filled to capacity.

One of my favourite things to do is read the author dedications. Some are sweet, some are clever, some are silly, and some obscure. Some are about libraries and librarians - always a winner. All of them are fodder for imaginative suppositions of who the dedicatee may be, and I always wonder if the author told the recipient of the honour thus bestowed upon them, or if they merely hoped that special person would one day come across it and recognize the message was meant for them.

I don't write all of them down, of course, but what follows is a brief assortment of some I have collected in my notebook over the past few months:

~For Tess. Mi vuoi sposare?  (A most original and perfect proposal!)

~Thanks, Mom and Dad, for raising a reader.

~This book is dedicated to all librarians everywhere - for they are the true keepers of the secret flame and not to be trifled with.

~For Mum. Thank you for everything, especially the library books.

~For every girl who wants to write her own story.

~Dedicated to the Mount Vernon City library, where I first found the ladder.

~For Catharine, first and favourite raisin girl.

~For my husband, kidlet, and family. (This is seemingly ordinary and unremarkable until I tell you it was the dedication of a book of dom/sub erotica)

~Dad, I wrote a book.

~For Paula Pea.

~This book is for Olive who gave me a new life.

~Quite simply this book is for my readers.

~For Nap, with gratitude for a life of love + laughter.

~To Sadie, beloved niece since 22:22, 02/02/02 - Sadie Sue, this one's for you. (Very sweet until you realize the book is a story about a teen murder victim)

~If you, dear reader, have not this very day observed at least three instances of the magical, the mysterious, or the miraculous, do set this book down right away. Find a story more to your disposition. Perhaps something about chalk.

Writing a book requires a great deal of work and imagination. Could you go one step more and come up with a really good dedication?

03 April 2017

Playing by the numbers

Today is opening day of baseball season. On the drive in to work this morning, Canada's Broadcaster interviewed a woman who wrote a book about baseball. I know! I was totally surprised, too, but apparently there is enough to say about baseball to fill a book. Anyway. She said that one of the wonderful things about the game is that it can take a long time to end. I mean, a loooonnng time. 27 innings constitutes a substantial portion of the day (insert tongue-sticking-out-emoji)

Alright, alright, so 27 innings would be unusual but honest to Pete, the game does evolve slowly, does it not? And after all of that three up-and-three downing, you are not guaranteed high scoring results.

Then it occurred to me... hang on a minute!  These are complaints often leveled against the Beautiful Game of football (soccer, if you must). North American men claim a sport needs non-stop action and astronomic scores in order to be entertaining. This doesn't explain televised golf or fishing shows. Or bowling. The theory disregards the endless, unendurable time outs, consultations, and team changes of the National Football League. It ignores the fact that in both oval-ball football and basketball, the final score is inflated by 'seven points for this' and 'three points for that' rather than reflecting one point earned for each successful attempt at a goal or basket.

To end a post that had far too many numbers in it, I have only this to say: There's no accounting for taste.

A question

If no one is looking at you, are you invisible?  Are you present in the world only when you are seen?
Do we seek out relationship with others in order to have someone bear witness to our life?

I send this question into the void, imagining it drifting through vast and dark spaces, buffeted by lonely winds, seeking an answer on which to settle.