Scary Story Time: “Dearest Laura” by D. Marie Prokop feat. Pink Spooky

 

“Dearest Laura” is included in “The Shorter Things Collection,” along with three other of my horror pieces. Add it to your collection today!

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Mute

Then I hear the sound of masculine crying. His sorrow stabs my heart. I wish to escape, but I’m trapped under his sadness, immobile and mute.

-“Thorn Bushes Have Roses” from The Shorter Things Collection


 

It is all for the bright!

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‘Tis Easter Again

Ring them bells. ‘Tis Easter again. 

 

The three gray wooden steps leading up to the porch bow like a repentant prodigal. A little child bounding up them could get hurt. Their body broken for You as easy as from a cancer in the bones. The metal-hinged doors wear a fresh coat of red paint, newly atoned by Jesus’ blood.  

 

Diamond-shaped windows, sincere evangelists, invite the sunlight to shine through ‘em. A ribbon of golden light hits the floor of the empty sanctuary. A voiceless choir incarnates dust mites and flitters down the spotlight. Years of communion—His body broken for us—weddings, funerals, and altar calls, they all leave a crease down the center aisle, mimicking the crack of an open King James.  

 

I hear you singin’ “It Is Well With My Soul,” standing tall over there on the left side of the altar facing the redemption red doors, like on that Easter, the one before yer last, that quiverin’ tenor voice causing tears to trickle from the eyes of sinners and saints. Hope bathed your face, your gospel smile. Radiant as Christ on the cross. His body broken for me.  

 

The Lord and I. Me and God. We both done lost our only sons.  

 

Ring them bells. ‘Tis Easter again. 

-The Shorter Things Collection

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It is all for the bright!

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The Shorter Things Collection

My newest release is an anthology of poems, flash fiction, and short stories I wrote over the last few years that do not fit so comfortably into the Young Adult genre. It’s for everyone, especially those who find it hard to read a whole novel. Sometimes short is all you have time for. I apologize in advance though; just because these pieces are short doesn’t mean they’re all sweet. The genres span from haiku to horror, and many in between. Get your ebook copy today.

I’d like to share with you my favorite poem in the collection, Color In Circles.

I felt bold. Bold. Bold as a box of bright crayons on gray recycled paper.

A rectangular page ripped from a Cinderella coloring book,

That utility box of Crayolas, ten predictable shades

Blue, Yellow, Red, Purple, Green, Brown, Orange, Pink, Black, and White

Primary to primal.

A rainbowed Decalogue stains the cheap pages

To color Cinderella in her temporary magical dress

Losing. Losing. Losing her damn glass slipper.

Graffiti without boundaries,

Void of trained aesthetics, haphazard, fearless.

A picture to reflect the stunted artist

Not for public display. The ten shades reveal a blushing testament.

What is to be done with this? This. This rendering by a frantic child?

Paint over it. Disguise the disgrace.

Slather over the mistakes with black ooze and let it dry.

Etch out a design. No, scratch out a warning—

Don’t. Don’t. Don’t waltz with strangers, Prince Charmings, narcissists.

Toss the testament in the trash with the glass slippers.

Abandon it. The mockery, the etched remnant.

Find a fresh page of thick bleached parchment.

New. New. New from a coloring book for grown-ups.

Purchase the jumbo box of crayons—ninety-six shades, nearly one-hundred hues.

Remember. Remember. Remember sitting at the table, one summer in the early‘80s.

“Use circles,” mom instructed, making bold impressions, not feeble scribbles.

Shades of blossoming pinks filled the empty space between lines.

Sunrise-tinged flowers of carnation, salmon, and fuschia.

Take the new page.

Grasp the renewed legacy.

Create. Create. Create again and again and again.

Capture the shades between bold and afraid.

Keep coloring.

Use circles.

There is no end.

 


 

It is all for the bright!

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Someone Like Bill

Critique. It’s not everyone’s favorite thing, right? But as a writer, critique groups are necessary for me, a good hurt. Of course, not every circle of writers is a good mix or a constructive influence. I don’t know the secret formula for finding the perfect critique group. Somehow I’ve been super lucky. I attend three amazing groups that suit my location, my genres, my commitment, and my skill level. They accept my writing for what it is, yet challenge me to do better without insulting my ineptitude. Sure, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Critique hurts sometimes, no matter what. And we still debate the common trivialities: the Oxford comma, clichés, and the ever-popular-bad-apple, adverbs.

Today a writer in my critique group lost his battle with cancer.

William Barnes wrote historical fiction. His latest work-in-progress dealt with the sordid history of the Texas Rangers. Before I continue, I must confess—I’m a Yankee. When we arrived at the “Western Expansion” portion of our U.S. History books in high school, our teacher skipped it, claiming this part of U.S. history wasn’t important, as it contained dubious facts and silly folktales. In contrast, my children took two Texas history classes before graduating from elementary school, which I considered suspiciously xenophobic. Bill read his work-in-progress at critique group and shot bullets through my prejudice. In his native Texan drawl, he read his excerpt aloud, a complex tale with Rangers hunting down Mexican-heritage citizens while those in Congress debated boundaries and laws. Conflict, complexity, humor, and action surrounded the historical facts of his story and I was surprisingly intrigued. Funny how a brilliantly scripted “silly folktale” can change minds, huh?   

But I gained more than a new respect for Texas history from Bill. That same night, I shared my piece with the group, a flash fiction horror story. Bill liked it so much he emailed me later and volunteered to beta-read anything I had. I sent him a YA fantasy short story. He sincerely loved it and detailed the reasons. When I lack confidence in my writing abilities, it helps to recall Bill’s words. A Texas grandfather and longtime-writer of historical fiction went out of his way to encourage me, a YA speculative fiction writer.

Though cancer stole Bill from the world, his encouraging words live on. They lend me confidence on days of doubt. Before he passed, I had the precious opportunity to thank Bill for his encouragement. I imagine him riding into heaven on a wild mustang.

Critique is important. Facing tough criticism molds us into better writers. But there’s a flip side. Encouragement also makes us better. If there’s someone like Bill in your critique group, thank them today.

 


It is all for the bright!

New subscribers to my newsletter get a free ebook copy of Tigress!

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Jörd

A photograph, combined with the prompt “birth,” inspired me to write a mythic snippet about a floating creature. Further research added details I hadn’t conceived of in the first draft. (See my notes below.)

I was not the only one inspired by this piece. The Houston non-profit group, WriteSpace, located at Silver Street, held a writing workshop for youth and one of them chose this photo for inspiration also–and did an amazing job.

I wrote to Ms. Glover about her wondrous photo. This was our short conversation–

Me: Hello! Your fabulous photograph, Ice Mountain II, displayed at Houston’s Silver Street Studios, inspired me to write a flash fiction piece prompted by the theme “birth.” I wanted to share it with you, just for kicks. Hope you enjoy it. Thank you for capturing wondrous sights like these and sharing them with the world. Cheers.

Ms. Glover: Thank you  for sending me your wonderful story. So pleased my Ice mountain inspired you. Best wishes Gina

The photo and the story–

2016-03-29
Jörd
I arrived in a storm millions of years ago and I remain here long after time ceased to matter. Once submerged underwater, drowning in shame, I gradually broke free. I rose from the vast depths. Born again.
I float thru icy waters, lonely and cold. Years of blank darkness exchanged for periwinkle sky, shape-shifting pearlescent clouds, the glorious brightness of sunrises, sunsets, stars.
My face is frozen aquamarine, streaked with gray brokenness. Rays of a hot orb, the sun, the brightest star in this sky, hit my exposed being, erasing me little by little, all day long. At night, the Icelandic wind sends sleeting rain to rebuild my green-tinged, icy artifice.
A powerful force pulls me toward my future. Though I was not sent here to catalogue this world, I wish I had been charged with this task. Instead, in humiliation, I, mother of Thor, was cast to this watery world in disgrace. Rejected.
Though once adored by Odin, I now masquerade as rock, frozen compounds adrift over time, over time unchecked. Vessels made by weak, mortal hands scream at me, piercing my solitude, accompanied with strange salutations, “Iceberg ahoy!”
They do not know my real name. Like the Valkyrie, they do not bow in my presence, even as they stare in wonder, admiring my face. But, like time, my opponents no longer matter. Arisen from the depths, I drift with a new purpose, certain my destiny awaits me.
This is my reply—“Ahoy!
I am among you.
Drifting.
Waiting.
I am Jörd.
I
am
earth.”

 

Notes:

Jörd, ( Old Norse: “Earth”, ) in Norse mythology, a giantess, mother of the deity Thor and mistress of the god Odin.

***

Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of a glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the glaciers. It is now 1.5 kilometres away from the ocean’s edge. It recently became the deepest lake in Iceland, as glacial retreat extended its boundaries. The size of the lake has increased fourfold since the 1970s. It is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland.

 

 Gina Glover’s series of photos is compiled into a book entitled The Metabolic Landscape.

 

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