A young man's journey home after an unresolved departure. It is a story of absolution, however it addresses the interdependence of humanity, not discounting the pain that will inevitably affect those we encounter in our pursuits of happiness.
William is an unemployed Irish porn addict with plans to kidnap Ciara, a blonde bimbo with no soul. His feelings or obsession with her are harmless in a way, he just wants her to love him. It doesn't all go to plan though.
Max's Kansas City, the World Trade Center, Broadway Boogie-Woogie -- in the seventies, Manhattan's got 'em all. But if you're looking for a travelogue, step away from the exercise wheel when the night air carries the scent of cedar shavings.
Just before Labor Day weekend, freelancer Mari thinks she's set to start a job after her family trip to Niagara Falls. When things don't go quite as planned, Mari must confront long-simmering issues with her family and the conflicts that come with being a working mom.
"Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."
Sir Winston Churchill
THIS WITCH HAS OTHER PLANS
Dark blood seeded with grains of puss filled the boils, but this was not the worst part of my encounter with the old gargoyle who took me to the far side of this moldering swamp. It's just the lingering after effect. I want to hide the marks that show me as a fool who didn't heed the warnings of the witch-the witch I took for a worry and a nag.
I'm not entirely to blame mind you; witches are forever regaling terrible tales to young toads like me, trying to scare us into remaining near to home, convenient to be added to a brew or a potion. How was I to know this witch had other plans? That she herself was a traveler and had suffered the very fate she attempted to ward me off?
She's not as dreadful to look at as some of the other witches I've known. Not that I've known tons of witches. I've known only a few. Finding her here in her mukluks, leaning against the giant cypress, was a bit of a surprise. I can't say I'm glad to see her. I'm humiliated to be covered in the very boils she warned me about, but it's a comfort to see someone I know at a time that I feared I might be lost forever.
"Hello Cedric," she said. The fact that she knew my name was not as astonishing as you might think. You see all toads are named after their fathers. Thus all toads are named Cedric. Come to think of it maybe we are all named after our mothers, for they are also all named Cedric!
I personally like to be called Roderick, though no one ever calls me that. I'm, mostly known as Jeff.
"Hello Witch," I reply.
"Are you done with that adventure-or are you planning to go back for more?" she asks.
"I've had quite enough I think. Thank you for asking. Very kind, very kind." I answer.
"Well, good! I was thinking…if you don't have any plans… are not otherwise engaged…maybe you would possibly…"
"My lands! Could we get on with this?" I interrupt her.
"Do you want to run away from home?" the witch blurts out.
"What do you think I was doing in the swamp? Strolling of a Sunday afternoon and just got lost?" I ask her.
"I wasn't sure, I don't know the travel habits of toads. This could have been a pilgrimage for all I know," she finishes.
"I suppose that's true, but just to inform you: I am an orphan. My whole family used up by persons such as yourself,"
"That's terrible," says the young witch in horror. "Just the worst!"
"It's what happens I suppose. No use going on about it. Live in an enchanted forest, turn into an enchantment," I explain-sounding much more pragmatic about the whole thing than I feel. My mother was charmed by the whole idea. She thought that it was all natural somehow. She said if I looked at the example of acorns turning into oak trees I could then see how it makes sense.
When I told her I didn't understand what one thing had to do with the other, she reiterated, "Can't you see? The acorns disappear, and in their place appears a tree. We disappear, and in our place there is magic. Acorns turn into trees and toads turn into magic. It is so simple Jeff. Even you can see that, can't you?"
Of course I couldn't, and thought my mother quite daft. But then she became part of a love potion and left the forest in bottle carried by a secretary who had plans to spike the coffee of her boss.
I have often thought, after that, that my mother was right. She did become magic, but it was still no comfort to me. So I had decided to get out of Dodge and that is what I did. Dodge was a big metal car that was left to rust and fall to bits in the woods and my family had been breeding in the puddle underneath it for many generations. It had been a safe spot until a bunch of witches moved in next door. I don't know what it is about a witch that toads can't resist, but everyone in my family fell for one of their lines-and now were turned into magic every one.
I wasn't going to follow them to that fate. I resisted and rejected every offer every witch ever made to me and this is how I had gotten covered in these boils, but I think I mentioned that already.
"Is there a "to," to which you are running?" I ask the young mud-crusted witchling. "Or is this simply a fleeing?"
"You take me for a reactionary? That's only fair, most witches are, but I try not to be," she says, rubbing the toe of one boot with the other. "I have a plan. Not a good plan, mind you but a plan."
"Do I get to hear this plan?" I ask her, sounding more petulant than I expected, I always expect some petulance. It's my age. I mean, I'm an adolescent toad and we tend to be moody. Not that adult toads are all that cheery, but they mellow over time. At least I think they do. All the toads I know have been transformed, as I'd mentioned, so in truth I don't rightly remember what happens to toads as they mature. All I do know is I'm tired of being so cranky and contrary. Times it gets so as I don't even want to be around me!
"Did you hear me?" she asks.
"What?" I say, "No, I didn't hear you. What did you say?"
"I said, I'm not telling you," she says, and folds her arms and nods her head.
"So I didn't in fact miss anything," is my retort.
"When you put it that way, no," she says.
"So glad I asked then," I tell her and look around for some clue as to where I should be hopping off to, since there was no way I was going to be traveling with her.
After a 4 year absence, WritingRaw is back! To all of our new readers we say welcome; and to those returning, we apologize for vanishing without notice. You may be asking yourself: "What the HELL happened? I spent years with you and you dumped me like yesterday's trash. No phone call, no email…" For this, we are sorry. There is no better explanation except to say that life took over and suddenly became complicated and I lost my creative spirit for a while. Well, guess what, I've found it again. It took some time and soul searching to realize that my truest love in the world is the written word, and nothing can ever change that - no matter what complications occur. So with that said, let us begin again. To quote the immortal words of T. S. Eliot: "So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing." With that being said, baby, I'm ready to dance in the creative light of words again.
To those who don't really know the whole concept of WritingRaw, let me explain briefly. When we first started in 2007, we saw a little hole in the writing world that needed filling. With the disappearance of markets that published unsolicited manuscripts, WritingRaw was created to provide an outlet for any writer who wished to have their work "published" online for the world to see and to help build a name for themselves. Our goal was to create something different - a thought-provoking online magazine dedicated to all forms of the written word without judgment. What appeared within the "pages" of WritingRaw was exactly what the author wanted. This open format allowed writers to think outside the box and create what THEY wanted in content and style. Thus, the "Raw" aspect of the site. Unfortunately, while WritingRaw cannot compensate authors monetarily for accepted pieces (this is all a labor of love and maintained through our own time and pockets), we believe that the exposure an author receives is compensation enough. In this day of vanishing literary markets, the actual building of a name - in our humble opinion - is just as valuable.
When I decided to bring WritingRaw back, my first thought was to ask one of the sites long time contributors to write a short piece for us. I contacted Shawn Inmon (who I've kept in contact with through the years and have developed such a professional respect and personal friendship with) to write me a little editorial. His story with WritingRaw is an amazing one. The following is what he wrote for us… which explains everything perfectly:
Editorial by Shawn Inmon
Like so many people, I had been a "closet writer" for most of my life. Occasionally, I would write a short story or novella, then stick it in a drawer or on a floppy disc and forget about it. Then, in 2006, something happened that inspired me to write something bigger: I ran into the girl I had loved all my life but hadn't seen in 27 years. The same night I saw her again, I began to write. I didn't know what I was writing-a memoir, a novel, an essay-I just knew I had to write it.
Over the next two years I wrote, rewrote, and rewrote again. I did all that for an audience of one: my oldest sister and best friend, Terri. I believed she would always be the only person who ever read that story. Then, in November of 2008, Terri called me out of the blue and asked me to promise her something. Foolishly, I agreed to pledge a promise before I even knew what she was asking. Then she dropped the bombshell: she wanted me to promise that someday I would publish that story I had written. I laughed it off, but agreed anyway, hoping that she would soon forget it.
A few weeks later, Terri died. A half-hearted promise had become a life's vow. I knew I owed her so much, the least of which was to fulfill that wish. I had never attempted to publish anything and had no clue how to proceed. I Googled "Websites that work with unpublished authors." The first result was WritingRaw.com. I spent a happy afternoon reading what others had posted on WritingRaw, and before I signed off for the day, I sent an email to the man who ran the website: Weeb Heinrich.
I confessed that I was completely green as an author, but that I had a story that I wanted to publish on WritingRaw, preferably in a serial format, with a new chapter every two weeks. To my amazement, Weeb answered me that very night, encouraging me to send the story in, saying that he would publish it. I was thrilled.
Over the next few months, I published a new chapter on WritingRaw every two weeks. Seeing my story in print like that was gratifying, but knowing I had managed to keep my promise to my sister was satisfying beyond words. In June of 2009, a miracle happened: that same girl, now woman, who I had seen in 2006 but hadn't spoken to since, found my story (titled A Perfect Fit at the time) on WritingRaw. We struck up a new conversation, several decades delayed. Not to spoil the story, but that woman is now my wife, and sitting beside me as I write this post.
In the end, I chose to self-publish that story as a book I titled Feels Like the First Time. I was overwhelmed by the reaction to that little book. As of this writing, it is on over 200,000 Kindles and has over 600 reviews on Amazon.com. The follow up, Both Sides Now, has met with near-equal success. To say I am blessed by this is a gross understatement.
Weeb and WritingRaw were instrumental in two things precious to me: reconnecting with my beautiful bride, and giving me a writing career. Those are the kind of debts that can never be sufficiently repaid, but only acknowledged. So, if you're reading this and contemplating submitting something to WritingRaw, I strongly encourage you to follow through. There's so little to risk and so many good things can happen. For me, at least, I discovered that there IS magic in Writing Raw. I hope you will find the same to be true for you.
Thank you Shawn for the kind words. I encourage everyone to read his bio on the Bio's Page of the site or visit his website at ShawnInmon.com; and, hey, while you're at it, stop in at Facebook and give his page a LIKE ShawnInmonwriter.
I've done enough rambling with this introduction. We are here to let you - the Writer - speak. Pick a short story, or a poem, or whatever catches your fancy and enter the amazing world that we call WritingRaw.
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