Wednesday, August 31, 2005
By Chris Bartholomew
Copyright (c) by Chris Bartholomew
In times past, aliens have lived on the earth, mixed with the people. A large group of them founded another world underneath the sea. Since this was the most beautiful place any of them had ever seen, they decided to have families and live there forever. Wild vegetables and grains grew there, and of course, there were the fish.
They named the world Anjul, after the planet they had come from. Although they were in many ways similar to humans, they were more accustomed to dim light instead of bright sunlight people are used to. The caves under the ocean were perfect for them. It was cool, the walls were fluorescent somehow so that they could see, and it was beautiful.
At ten-year intervals, the sun would filter through the ocean and shine on the waterfall, making all the colors of the spectrum shoot through the land. The young and old appreciated, and looked forward to this manifestation. It was like the eclipse is special to those who lived above, but more beautiful.
From time to time, people happened upon the world by mistake, going through the waterfall underneath the sea. Their world was made away from the waterfall, just in case someone wandered in. Sometimes, people would come in and then after looking around for awhile, they'd leave, but there were times when whoever happened by would investigate more, and their world was found. Many were allowed to stay and families were made there.
These were lovely people, but soon their world was on the brink of over-population, so they had to quit letting those who wandered in, stay. They had the ability to erase memories, so people couldn't find their way back. In this land, everyone had people to take care of and they took pride in the fact that no one lacked for anything they needed. They hated to turn people away, but there was no choice.
All of the other inhabitants of the land called the aliens who founded this world Superior. They had made all of the rules for the people to live by and it was a peaceful place.
Anjuline lived in that world within ours. She was named by her mother, so happy was she to be able to raise her child there. One day, Anjuline went to talk to Superior. She was not really dreading this, but was a little nervous – just a little.
"This is a request from my family and me. Two people swam down and found the entrance, and they want to stay. As the custom is to erase the memory, I wanted to ask permission just this once," she told the Superior.
"Anjuline, what is so special about these two? You know we never let them stay anymore. We made that decision long ago, because we didn't want to be overcrowded. If you can prove to me that they would be worthy, and of some type of help here, I will take it under consideration," the Superior said.
"Well, you see, I am sad lately, and find myself thinking there is nothing new to do here. I have found through these two people that I have taken my life for granted. I've been doing my job, and taking care of people as instructed, yet I am not happy," she explained.
"My dear, what does that have to do with the reason you are requesting that they be allowed to stay?" he asked her.
"There have been many to come here, but this is the first time I've seen them cross over. How they looked amazed me. They told me that this place is the most beautiful they have ever seen. They said it makes them happy just to look at the surroundings. They made me remember how I felt when I was young and just learning of life," Anjuline said dreamingly.
"Well, it is a nice feeling, to be admired for your world, but how does that explain why you think they should be allowed to stay, when we've turned so many away? Why is this helpful to you?" superior asked.
"They say that in comparison to their own world, this one is where they want to be. Everything they gaze upon is new and wonderful to them. If you allow them to stay, then in ten years, when their sun touches the waterfall, they will see the most beautiful thing they will ever see. I want this for them. I've seen it six times; I'd love for them to see it once. I feel as if these two have given me back my life."
"This is very sweet of you Anjuline, but how did they make you feel that way?"
"Because when I see their happiness just being here, it makes me see things differently, it makes me happy. Through them, I understand that I have taken everything we have here for granted. One of the things about beauty that makes it attractive is being able to share it with others. Everyone says seeing the beauty of sun and the waterfall alone makes it worth being here."
"What do these two people from above say about staying here? Have you even asked them? You say this request is from your family and you, yet only you come, why is that?"
"My family thinks you will be mad at me for asking. They would not come, but they are showing them around as we speak. Everyone likes these people and they and would like to stay here."
"Please explain to them that they may stay, but they will have to abide by the rules. They must take care of someone. I think I will assign them to your house; they can take care of you. Mind that they understand that they cannot go home again after they have been here for one whole day. After twenty-four hours is up, I will erase the way to the door from their minds, and they won't allowed be to leave. It's too risky to let people who have disappeared from above re-appear there later."
"I understand, and I will tell them everything you say. Thank you for giving us this gift, I know it will make all of us better, knowing that we have a wonderful world that others would love to share with us."
"Anjuline, understand that they may decide not to stay after they have thought about their world. I know that to them this one seems better for the moment, but they have ties to the world they came from. Know also that we all take things for granted, but something always comes along to snap us out of it, even if for just a short time. Go now and tell them how you appreciate their take on your world. Enjoy it for however long they are here."
After obtaining permission from Superior, Anjuline went to tell the people that they could stay if they wished. Her family told her that they had already gone home after considering their lives and their families. She was sad, yet remembered Superiors words that something always comes along, even if for just a short time.
Anjuline decided after this never to take her life for granted again, finding new things to do and by thinking of others.
She felt happy and contented to the end of her days, which just happened to be right after the sun from above hit the waterfall. Anjuline was the sweetest and most beloved of all, and everyone in her world was happy that she had been able to see that one last time.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
This movie has a lot of potential, but, all in all, if we had not been with our friend, I would have requested my money back from the ticket office and left. Why? Because you heard the word "pussy" so much it became boring and distasteful. You also heard "fuck" every other word it seems and all in all it made me uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable that this movie was supposed to be funny and although it had funny moments and the ending was beyond hilarious, it wasn't enough to make me want to pay the $11.50 to see the movie, and how the people went through their scenes was painful. It worked only when you let yourself not think and revert to the adolescent years and only then if you were willing to be that screwed up again. I suppose I am not.
The theater was filled with younglings and they laughed and almost became upset when the virgin Andy didn't get laid until his wedding night. This was positive. This was good. And afterwards, it was funny. But getting from the beginning to the ending was painful! One man cheats on his girlfriend until he discovers she is pregnant with his child, and even then you wonder if he is going to stick to being faithful because he was nothing but a self-admitted man-whore. One friend was stalking an ex-girlfriend which had broken up with him two years prior and he had decided he wasn't going to sleep around but be celibate. And finally we have Cal who is a pot-smoking good guy despite his best half-hearted efforts to help Andy, the virgin, get laid.
There are snippets of pornography in the movie because Andy lights candles and settles down to have some quality pleasuring time with himself, and he just finally puts in another movie because that type of sex is not what he is looking for.
Trish, played by Catherine Keener, is a winner. She falls in love with Andy and wonders why he doesn't want to make love to her. It takes a bike and car chase scene for her to discover Andy is still a virgin, even though her teenage daughter figures it out fairly quickly.
As I said, there are funny moments, but not enough to make this a good movie - they were not consistent. If this movie was made to help push keeping your virginity until you find the right one, they maybe it worked. All I know is that I highly discourage people to see this movie because it just isn't good, unless you are in the ages of 18-25, then, perhaps it will be funny.
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
No hay pajaros en los nidos de antano.
The sun is bright,--the air is clear,
The darting swallows soar and sing.
And from the stately elms I hear
The bluebird prophesying Spring.
So blue you winding river flows,
It seems an outlet from the sky,
Where waiting till the west-wind blows,
The freighted clouds at anchor lie.
All things are new;--the buds, the leaves,
That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest,
And even the nest beneath the eaves;--
There are no birds in last year's nest!
All things rejoice in youth and love,
The fulness of their first delight!
And learn from the soft heavens above
The melting tenderness of night.
Maiden, that read'st this simple rhyme,
Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay;
Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime,
For oh, it is not always May!
Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth,
To some good angel leave the rest;
For Time will teach thee soon the truth,
There are no birds in last year's nest!
Monday, August 29, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
I was tooling around the 'Net today and spied this lovely little photo. What person in their right mind would kneel down by a truck where a dog is seriously thinking of making a few puncture holes in you?! Yes, I see the person's hand there holding the dog back...ahem...but I do not see anything in the dog's face saying, "O yes, I am just playing with you really. I don't really want to come over there and chomp your face full of holes." And can you see the owner's smile? It's there. It is half hidden by part of the dog's head, but it is there. Can't you imagine what that smile means? "Yes, that's right you dodo, I told you to leave my dog alone, and if you come any closer I will just let my hand slip and you will have to fend for yourself. Some people are so dumb where animals are concerned. Yes, that's right, go on and get yourself bit you moron."
Some people are really stupid when it comes to animals. They take them for "things" instead of creatures that have feelings and can love you back, or hate you, depending on how you treat them and how they are taught to treat a human. Wild animals are wild and deserve to be photographed (from a nice safe distance, especially where bears are concerned) and left to be beautiful not yelled at and garbage thrown at them. Have I seen this? Yes. Or people driving by and shooting them. Have I seen this? Yes. Some people are really stupid when it comes to animals.
– Gail Godwin
OK, I'm dense today because I simply don't get this one. Anyone out there like to give me a clue as to what this means?
Thursday, August 25, 2005
This was then. Uncle Jesse, Denver Pyle, passed away in 1997 right after the Dukes of Hazzard Reunion movie.
And this is them now at the CMT music awards. They don't look half bad.
Bo and Luke Duke then.
And this is now. Tom Wopat looks as if he has had a rough row to hoe but he still looks good, and what can you say about John Schneider other than he looks mighty fine! What else would you expect from Pa Kent? I believe part of Tom Wopat's charm is that he has that "everyman" quality and not just the star/muscian look. His eyes are still dashing aren't they.
I couldn't find a current picture of Catherine Bach except for the CMT photo which was a little sad, so didn't want to put up her old poster shot. How many guys did I know in the '70s that had that poster up on their wall or in their locker or something?! It was a fair number, more than I want to try and count.
What other shows did I love and watch almost religiously? Of course there was Gilligan's Island but SO much has been done on them what fun would it be to look them up? Batman of course and the old Tarzan series way back in the 1960s and I think early '70s. Who knows what I will come up with next!
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy
Each of us have expectations -
Life will go on tomorrow
There will be something to eat on the table
Or from the restaraunt
And we have enough time to do
All the things we've been dreaming of
We expect satisfaction
And failing that
We mourn for a bit
Spoiled children we are
Long over-due for that cosmic whupping
Sadly, we never seem to expect love
We take it for granted
We think it will always be there
Or that we will find it
And all our troubles will be over
But loving brings responcibility
And the other's expectations must be considered
And time doesn't always work out
So that we have all the time we need
With our beloved.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Monday, August 22, 2005
There is a lot to come out in this story for Relick. He has a wife to save, a boy to figure out, and a life to live. He reminds me of the important men in my life all rolled into one. Hopefully others will find him as interesting as I currently do.
Since there is a new novel under way I find myself looking at my present life in earnest and seeing just how many hours are in the day in order to get writing done, cooking done, kitchen work done, and time with B ordered so we actually have time together. This means, of course, getting as much done during the day as possible. Now added to this mix is getting people to help with the clothing sale at Church (it was a "nice" surprise to discover we were in charge now of that yesterday) which is happening this coming weekend, commitments with a friend which also happens this week, and those little odds and ends you need to do just to have a life. As I said, I am looking at my life in earnest and I am seeing clearly, for the first time, just how much I do and can do from a wheelchair and I am finding myself stunned.
It seems as if God is showing me in large blinking fuchsia letters YOU HAVE A LIFE. When I have discovered I have indeed had a life I have become frightened and tried to hide in some other avenue so I wouldn't have to contend with so much because in some distant reach of my brain I have thought often that I do not have a life and never will. It is frightening sometimes to discover differences and life. This time I am not running away, but I am facing my life with a smile and squared shoulders with my prayer rope firmly in hand and my faith before me.
I think that is one reason why I like this story with Relick so much: He is surprised at discovering his own life and he doesn't quite know what to do with it at times. Maybe together he and I will figure a good chunk of it out.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Of course, not everything about 'Taker is Cook. His personality is, well, my own creation, a fantasy of my very own, but his look, his look is right here, almost. Cook doesn't have some things of this wonderful physique, but, you have to admit, for someone to be an enigmatic figure, you can't get any better than this particular picture. This fellow could be a 'good ol' boy' or a biker, both or something as yet unnamed.
Recently, in writing, I've noticed that if I have a general idea of how someone looks, they come alive in many different ways for me and my weird imagination. It is as if I can see the character in another way, even though, in reality, my Cook is nothing like this persona, yet in my head it is close enough to write about. Sometimes I believe all writers do this, they have certain actors in the back of their minds who could pull off a particular character, and if WHRTTT ever makes it to the big screen, this is the guy that needs to play him.
By H.A. Handy
I have to admit, when I heard they were making The Dukes of Hazzard into a movie, I was, let’s say, filled with trepidation. Why? Because The Dukes of Hazzard television show was good, fun, hokey and filled with fast cars, good looking good ol’ boys and pretty girls. You couldn’t beat it when I was younger, especially since I grew up in Leslie County which was right next to Perry County whose county seat was the town of Hazard. I mean, there were simply too many comparisons you could honestly make (and we were in Kentucky instead of Georgia). Plus, I had cousins who were young, fearless and foolish and had their own “Dukes of Hazzard” race where, well, one was playing the Dukes and racing down a curvy mountain road being chased by his brother in the local sheriff’s car they had been working on at the body shop. So, yeah, I have fond memories of the television series and I honestly didn’t want it messed with. Those were happy times, fun times, hard times, times I can never go back to.
When I found out who was playing which character in the film I was down right worried. Johnny Knoxville playing Luke Duke? Please! Couldn’t they find someone handsome to play Luke Duke? And Sean William Scott as Bo? Yeah, he can look scuzzy.
Having Willie Nelson play Uncle Jessie wasn’t too bad. I was convinced he could pull it off, and he was the only reason I decided I would go to see the movie.
The worst selection I thought the movie powers had made was casting Jessica Simpson in the role of Daisy. Jessica is a pretty girl and all, but after seeing “Newly Weds” or whatever that show was called, I wasn’t convinced.
Then I saw the video for “These Boots” and sort of changed my mind (she still doesn’t have enough butt though).
I can say, watching the movie was down right fun. It was fun in a nostalgic happy way I haven’t seen a movie in a long time. There were scenes where I could see my cousins doing some of the stupid things those guys did. I laughed heartily and gave up to the hokiness of the movie that was actually doing pretty good homage to the show.
Not all movies are made so you “think” about anything serious. Some movies give you time just to enjoy what is going on there on the screen and make as much fun of themselves as anything else they are doing.
Yeah, the movie could have been better. The cast could have been different (more handsome) but it wouldn’t have been the same movie with all of the chuckles and laughter I heard in the theater along with my own.
One of the best parts in the movie is when the Duke boys are driving into Atlanta and the reactions they were getting from the motorists and their confusion until they saw the Stars and Bars on the roof. This was an honest reaction in Atlanta. I can see it happening.
Go see the movie on the big screen people. It does justice to the car races and the hilarity of nothing less than pure fun. Don’t worry about analyzing it. Don’t try to read something more into it that what is there, because there really isn’t anything else there. Heck, just go see it for the soundtrack if you must, just go see it and enjoy and tell me what YOU think and what memories it brought out in you.
By H. A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy
“Do not endeavor to try and mock me,” English said. He was trembling with rage as he stared at the king.
“Mock you? Mock you? May the heavens forbid such a thing...Lord English. If memory serves me correctly, I made you a lord of Avalon and gave you lands for exceptional service in battle once. If I gave you the title, I can just as easily revoke it!” King Arthur was standing with his feet braced, his hands open and loose at his side, but he seemed poised for grappling. I had never thought of King Arthur as a dangerous man before, but, really, why couldn’t he have been? He was a king who had served in battle and he was also a warrior; most of the time I read the story I was always interested in the romance and not the fighting. Now, standing where I was and hearing his words, seeing his face, made me just a little frightened. What made it even more frightening was the fact I was ever there!
“You wouldn’t dare!” Lord English hissed. He had blanched now and was even more intimidating, at least to me.
“Oh wouldn’t I?”
The two men stared at each other for ages. I discovered I was holding my breath, and looked over to Elise and saw she was tense, white really. Dremor was watching the two men carefully. The other elves, on both sides, appeared poised to attack one another. Suddenly I wished to be back safely in my living room dreaming up these type of scenarios instead of actually living one!
“Please, please,” Fredrick said, as he moved carefully between the two. “Much is happening in our land, it is affecting all of us,” he said. “Please, let us be calm. We have a guest,” he said, turning to look at me with a very disarming smile, “and we should never frighten guests as we are obviously doing.”
“This isn’t over,” Lord English said, loosening his shoulders with a shake.
“Yes, it is,” replied the king, and the knot of fear grew even tighter in my stomach. Dremor’s grasp of my elbow grew just a little more firm. “You are no longer a lord of Avalon. I rescind the award of title, and land.” A paper appeared floating in mid air between Lord English and King Arthur. It turned upon itself and split in two, then vanished in a mass of sparkling dots that reminded me of a Saturday morning cartoon effect.
English was livid now. He was clenching and un-clenching his fists so quickly it was as if he was pumping up to throw a punch. But he didn’t. Instead he wheeled around, mounted his horse and rode away – his elven guard looked at him and then glanced at me, and then King Arthur.
“You may return to your place in the army, of you may follow him,” Arthur was saying. “If you follow him, Avalon’s protection will not be with you.” Two guards dismounted and knelt before King Arthur, but the rest went after Lord English.
Dremor relaxed a little and let us go as King Arthur came back to where we were standing. “Forgive us for our foolishness this day,” King Arthur said to me softly, deeply. “Some things must be done quickly, and I cannot have someone undermining my authority.” I thought this part was said for Elise’s benefit more than mine. She was white as a ghost. “Come daughter, I shall ferry you home!” the king said with a flourish of his arm and he was smiling brightly, though he was observing Elise very closely. Elise took a staggering step toward her father and then seemed to snap out of something, because she smiled and color was slowly beginning to come back into her face. The hand that reached out to her father was trembling I saw.
When King Arthur turned, his daughter’s hand in his own, the people who had gathered cheered. I heard several shouts of “English is gone” mixed with “Long live the king” and “I just know he is in league with the shadows!” King Arthur lifted Elise easily into his saddle, side-saddle of course, and waving and nodding to the crowd who was still cheering, he headed through the gate and into Avalon proper. Dremor, the dogs, and I followed after.
There wasn’t much difference between outside the wall and inside as far as I could tell. There were a number of more well-dressed people, but the majority was still just peasants, shop keepers mostly, trying to make a living just like back in the 21st Century. Still, there was a general happiness in the faces I saw in comparison to the people I met on the street back home. Perhaps I was having a bout of the idea of the rustic-people-know-how-to-really-live. Whatever it was, there were very few pre-occupied faces I saw. Most were beaming and looked genuinely happy. What would they do when we had entered the castle? Would their faces fall and they go back to showing how the honestly felt rather than what they thought they should feel and show for the royalty? I couldn’t help but wonder if some of those thoughts ever went through the king’s mind as he waved and spoke to several people. A vender of vegetables rushed forward and gave the king something that looked like a pear. King Arthur bit into it happily and patted the man on the back and asked how his stall was doing lately. I didn’t catch the reply because Fredrick was suddenly beside me.
“I’m sorry you had to meet us under these conditions,” he said in a softer tone. He glanced up at Dremor with a quizzical look. “Lord English has been trying to play both ends against the middle. Several warned him his intrigues were going to get him into trouble, but he just wouldn’t listen.” Fredrick shook his head and the mass of blond and red curls swayed like seaweed on top of his head. I know the situation had been serious, but his curls nearly made me burst out laughing. “When we are back to the castle and you are refreshed, we will have food and talk f what needs to be done.” Fredrick bowed to me and disappeared with a soft pop. I jumped, and Enyo and Ella woofed. Dremor chuckled and slid his arm through mine.
“He does that,” he said, “it is just something you get used to.” Even though we were walking toward the castle, it still didn’t seem any closer and, frankly, my feet were hurting. It was probably because I hadn’t done so much walking on the ground without tennies that my feet just didn’t know how to handle the ground. All I had on my feet were thread bare slipper scuffs I had had for years. I wished we could just pop to the castle like Fredrick.
And we did. I mean we, because Dremor was with me looking just as shocked as I was.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
O Lord our God, good and merciful, I acknowledge all my sins which I have committed every day of my life, in thought, word and deed; in body and soul alike. I am heartily sorry that I have ever offended thee, and I sincerely repent; with tears I humbly pray thee, O Lord: of thy mercy forgive me all my past transgressions and absolve me from them. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to amend my way of life and to sin no more; that I may walk in the way of the righteous and offer praise and glory to the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
I have been going through something, Dear Readers, something that has torn at my very soul, thrashed it about to leave it quite tired, weary, and, well wanting to go on. In all my years of fighting to live I have never felt such a pull to go on, to accept that sweet sleep of eternity (if we do sleep for eternity) because then there will be peace in my life and soul. Falling asleep, death for the non-Orthodox, isn't my choice, of course. Still, to have peace and rest from all the labors of body, mind and soul is a wonderful thing for me to consider at the moment. And, in considering it I must also consider whether or not I have everything straightened out in my life so that I can actually taste that wonderful promised peace.
I have already begun by speaking with the Dormition Monastery and was instructed I needed to write a letter so I will have someone to speak with before I get there and while I'm there. Sometimes it is so much easier to speak with a woman than it is a man about some things. So, I am going to be working on that letter beginning today and tomorrow probably in deep earnest. The nun I spoke with was so kind and gentle, so loving and respectful some of the burden of living did seem to settle and shift to some other place letting my soul inhale deeply for a moment.
No, this doesn't mean I am going to the monastery to become a nun. It does mean, however, I am going to go to the monastery to have a good, soulful rest for once in a very long time, and help to get my head clear and my mind ready for what I need to do in order to straighten out this life of mine.
A dear friend did point out that in "straightening out" this life, it didn't mean not being happy, but to enjoy all of the pleasures God has given. My friend didn't say it that way, but this is what they meant. I know some hard decisions are going to have to be made and I am going to have to break a lot of habits and develop new ones (no pun intended) in order to keep going with what I hope to achieve.
Fantasy Revealed is being worked on and will pop up very soon, but most likely tomorrow. I just wanted to give you a heads up that The News may be changing a bit, as in having a bit more of me personally here, but little else. I suppose that hasn't changed all that much either, it is just letting you, and me, know that I am undergoing a change, and I never like changing like this without some friends somewhere.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Fantasy Revealed, Part IV
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy
Horns sounded from the ramparts and people were moving toward the large gates with hope and awe, and a lot of curiosity. They were no more than hard working peasants trying to make a living in the small town that was springing up outside of the gates proper of Avalon. The ground beneath my feet trembled with the approach of many horses. Ella and Enyo snorted. Cappa, in Dremor’s saddlebag sunk down lower into it until nothing could be seen of her, not even her furry little ears.
Dremor was still facing the ground as more men, and women, appeared on horses. They carried different shields from the first group. The first group had shields of black with a red cross; this group had shields of light blue with a white eagle or bird upon them. The leader of the group was a tall man with square shoulders and steely gray hair. He had a beard and mustache that were also steely gray, but his eyes were a dancing blue. With grace he swung down from his saddle and strode toward me.
“My Lord,” Dremor said, bowing even lower and backing away a step or two from me.
Could this possibly be him, King Arthur, the real deal, the man of myth and legend? His ears were only slightly pointed and he was elegant in mien and bearing the likes of which I never really suspected could exist in anyone.
He studied me as closely as I was studying him. Finally he seemed to have made some decision because he stepped forward and extended his hand. Hesitantly I took it and he kissed the back of my hand lightly. He smiled down at me then and, without letting go of my hand, turned to the riders and chuckled. They, in turn burst into laughter.
“It appears we may be on our way to having some answers after all,” King Arthur said jovially. “Come lassie, it is time for you to meet Fredrick and perhaps save a kingdom.”
“Oh, no pressure,” I said as he led me forward. King Arthur’s men, a bunch of hard looking men and women, elven and human, and even a few dwarves were there too I could see.
I don’t remember much about entering the city except for the fact that when we came through the great gates, the castle was in the distance still and was quite huge, even larger than I thought it was from the road. It glistened, too, with different shades of stones and in the tallest tower there were two people moving about. I couldn’t make out any description of them except one seemed to be wearing blood-red clothes. My mind wanted to say “robes” but I couldn’t possibly be correct about that.
The road Dremor and I had been traveling on earlier appeared to end at the castle, which was now our continued destination. People ran up to speak quietly with the king, much to my surprise, and then would bow away. Several times King Arthur would call out to a person and ask how they were doing. In all my years of reading I never expected him to be quite so friendly, I always imagined him to be like a modern king, stand-offish and distant to his people. Of course, that was the 21st Century and this was...well, it wasn’t.
A child came running around the corner of a booth and bumped directly into King Arthur’s leg. Arthur looked down, said something in elvish and lifted it high into the air to spin it around like a top. When he put the child down it was laughing and giggling and dizzy. He steadied it with a very gentle hand and it went running away again.
A woman with long red hair and finer dress than the peasants I had seen so far came around the corner of a vegetable stand with a large basket in her hand filled to the brim with vegetables. She saw the king and came straight to him. King Arthur kissed her on the forehead.
“Keeper, I would like for you to meet my daughter, Elise.” Elise curtsied and smiled at me. She was smaller than her father and very feminine, almost frail.
“Welcome to Avalon,” she said sweetly. “I hope you will be able to help us.”
“I hope I will be able to as well.” And I really meant it. I wanted to help, but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what could have been hidden in my family for so long that would have any bearing for these people and their current need! It was enough to make you feel overwhelmed and over powered!
More people were coming down from the castle now. They were hurried according to the dust they raised. King Arthur made a soft growling sound and put his hands behind his back and rocked back and forth on his heels and the balls of his feet. Elise came to stand next to me, her eyes still on her father.
The new people were all dressed in blood red attire and carried flags of their own. Dremor came to stand between me and Elise and the dogs came closer to me as well. Maybe I was just over-reacting, but there was something about all of their actions that made me just a little nervous.
One man dismounted and approached. He was lean and tall enough to be considered lanky. He had long black hair and his eyes were equally dark. His skin was pale and delicate. Pointy ears peeked out of his hair and he had almost a ghost-like grace about him, as if his feet did not exactly touch the ground when he walked. Even though his face was set in innocent welcome, it didn’t extend to his eyes. His eyes were cold and calculating.
“Welcome to humble Avalon, Keeper,” he said, bowing low. The elves with him bowed from their horses. “I am Lord English offering my humble services to you.” There was little that was humble about him, I thought. “Our wizard awaits you in the castle hall my lord,” English said, turning to the king with a mixture of syrupy sweetness and malice which seemed barely held in check.
“English, I have not decided if you have been telling the truth of the matter,” King Arthur said suddenly, his voice dropping low. “I requested Fredrick’s presence HERE, not in the hall!”
“Please forgive me, my lord, I was only thinking of the Keeper and her fragile nerves. Fredrick’s appearance may be too much for her!” he said, his eyebrows lifting to emphasize his innocence.
“Fredrick, would you come here please?” King Arthur spoke softly, still rocking up and down on his feet. There was a humming and then a pop and a very small human was before us. He could have been five feet in height, perhaps, but I think he was really much smaller because he was shorter than me by a good foot! His hair was a mass of red and blond curls that went everywhere and his face was handsome and broad, as if he needed a lot of room for expressions there. He wore robes of violet and blue and he held in his right hand a staff with a gem of rich blue. His small hands made intricate signs in the air before he bowed low to the king and then to me.
“I’m sorry, milord,” he said to the ground, “but Lord English thought....”
“I know what he thought,” snapped the king. “But I do not believe I have lost in battle or become infirm? So this means I am still the king here of Avalon, not Lord English, though he does try to secure the throne with many deceits and trickeries.” English pulled himself up to his full height, and then some, because I was certain I saw his robes leave the ground by a good inch. “Elise does not wish to marry you. My son already sees through you at his age, and my dear wife does not wish you in her presence. Now you have disobeyed a direct command and stand before me as if YOUR feelings have something to do with importance here?!” The people were beginning to gather around us. Dremor took my elbow and Elise’s and pulled us slightly away and to the side. The air was tense.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Fantasy Revealed is in the works, but it may be delayed for tomorrow and Friday instead of today and Thursday. And, I have made an interesting observation which is floating around the writing part of my head which I will post here eventually. I'm curious to see if any of you will comment on it.
Now, to the keys!
Friday, August 12, 2005
First and foremost is a piece of fiction from Chris Bartholomew entitled "The Overstocked Pond" which really is something different than what has appeared in The News before. She has a writing style that is almost down-homey and yet can make the icy fingers of uncertainty trip down your spine with ease.
As soon as I can catch up with everything in the other writing departments, I shall have for you two sections of "Fantasy Revealed" and the review of The Dukes of Hazzard for you. Right now, how about some fiction!
The Overstocked Pond
By Chris Bartholomew
Copyright (C) 2005 by Chris Bartholomew
Near the house of Farmer Ray, there was a new pond being dug. No one knew exactly who owned the property but the town was abuzz about the newly developed land. After all, Farmer Ray was a mean old man who wouldn't let anyone near his property and if this pond wasn't intruding on his land, it was close.
Ricky Lambert loved to fish. He was a tall, lanky teen who kept a little to himself and had, by choice, only a few good friends. He did well in school, but always dreamt of summer coming with camping, hiking, and fishing all day and into the night. He was usually alone on these trips. They lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone else.
Ricky got up early one day and decided to ride his bike over to Farmer Ray's place to see how close the pond was to completion. It was only two more months until summer and he was curious if it would be finished so that he could fish, if they stocked the pond.
Halfway down the dirt path to the pond, he stopped short. Farmer Ray was standing in the path with a shotgun in his hand. He raised the gun and pointed it straight at Ricky.
"Hello Sir, I'm Ricky Lambert, and I live just a few roads over," Ricky hollered. "Nice day today. I came to see the pond, are you going to stock it full of fish?"
In answer to Ricky, Farmer Ray shot a few over Ricky's head. Ricky had been terrified, but the farmer couldn't tell it. He smiled when the boy turned around without another word and went peddling away.
When Ricky made it to school, he saw his friends under a tree so he made his way over to where they were.
"Hi guys, what's going on?" Ricky said looking at Tommy Wythe.
Tommy said, "Oh not much, but the other kids are taking bets whether you'll go fishing at the new pond or not. We didn't bet Ricky, we know you aren't stupid enough to go over there."
Ricky just smiled at them.
"We were right to not bet right Ricky, you aren't going fishing there are you? I don't like the look on your face," Jerry Batten said.
"If there are going to be fish there, how can I not go fishing? Everyone knows Farmer Ray isn't the nicest person in town, but he's never killed anyone. I've been yelled at and even shot at before, yeah, I'll go fishing there this summer, as soon as someone tells me he stocked the pond."
"Hey, is that pond the Farmers? Did you find out for sure?" Jimmy asked.
"No, but you can't get there without going on his property. It's not likely he sold land right in the middle of his. People just figured that he wouldn't be building something like that because he's so mean," Ricky said walking away to go to class.
Well into summer, Ricky snuck over to the pond and found it stocked with fish. Over stocked he would say and he couldn't wait to get a line in. He thought it better to go camping and snuck in right after dark, on a full moon where he could see enough to put the tent up.
That night he took out his gear and readied his pole for a night of fishing. About an hour into it, he noticed someone fishing on the other side. He didn't know when the person came, but didn't think it was Farmer Joe, the outline seemed to suggest someone around Ricky's own age. He didn't move until he saw the figure walk away, and then he packed up his gear and went home.
The next day, Ricky couldn't help himself; he had to go again. He went near dark, so he could find the place opposite where he was last night. He wanted to know who was there when he was. He didn't care if it was Farmer Ray, he just wanted to know, and felt that if he could see the figure, they could see him too, so if it was Farmer Joe, he didn't shoot him so Ricky thought maybe his fishing there was okay.
As he put his line into the water, another boy came walking toward where he sat.
"Hi, my names Ricky, didn't I see you here last night when I was fishing?" Ricky asked the boy.
"Hi, I'm Timmy. Yeah, I was here but the fish didn't bite and I went home. I saw you but didn't want to walk clear over to the other side there," the boy said.
"I've never seen you before, are you visiting Farmer Ray?" Ricky asked him.
"Nah, I'm here for good. I'm his son," Timmy laughed and added, "I saw you in the middle of the road when he shot over your head. Thought you handled that pretty well, at least you weren't crying or anything."
They fished and camped together for three days, and then it was time for Ricky to go home. They parted ways at the fork in the dirt road and promised to meet again at the beginning of the next week.
Ricky went home and showered and took a nap. He had been tired from fishing and talking to Timmy. When he awoke, he came out and asked her mother if she knew that Farmer Ray had a son named Timmy.
"Yes son. Farmer Ray hasn't always been so mean. When we all graduated, he married the prettiest girl in school. Her name was Marquette, and she was good for him. They had parties over at the farm all the time. They were very happy. She had twins in fact; we were in the hospital together. She had them right before I delivered you,." his mother said.
Ricky interjected, "If he's married, and has two sons, where have they been?"
His mother continued sadly, "Marquette, as beautiful as she was, wasn't ready for a family so when she had two boys at the same time, she was getting ready to leave Ray. He wouldn't let them go; in those days, you didn't just up and walk away. One day he took her with him to round up the horses. He used to have wild horses on that land. He would go to far away places and bring them back. Well, there was a stampede and both the kids were killed when she couldn't get them out of the way fast enough. She is now in an institution, very far from here. No one is allowed in to see her."
She let Ricky get his mind around what she was telling him but wasn't sure why he was so surprised.
"Farmer Ray wasn't always a mean man, like he is now. However, when the kids died and his wife was sent away, he kept telling people that he saw the children. The town's people started berating him for speaking to the dead. They just wouldn't give it up, and so he kept to himself, only coming into town to buy supplies and dared anyone to come onto the property. He was excommunicated from the church," his mother was finished talking about it but Ricky didn't let it go.
"Mom, I was fishing this week with a boy who said he's the farmer's son, his name is Timmy," Ricky said wide-eyed.
"Ricky, it had to be some other Timmy, I was at the funeral, both boys died."
Ricky told his friends, who told their parents, and they all gossiped about it, but no one was ready to believe.
He spent the summer with Timmy, but never found out where his twin brother was. He and farmer Ray became friends over time, and the town's people began to try to be friendly with the farmer too.
Little by little, people began to believe Ricky, and they would come to the pond and visit with their family who had passed over. It was a well-kept town secret, still is in fact. When someone passes through a small town in the south, and no one seems friendly, there is a reason for that. There are secrets to keep inside, and this was such a town.
Chris Bartholomew writes full time from her home in Jasper, Georgia. Her stories can be found at Ragged Edge Publishing, the ezine, Writer's Nook and Reader's Corner, Bewildering Tales, Astounding Tales, Anotherealm, a new print magazine Theatre of Decay will feature two of her stories, The Knob, and The Owl of DarkWood in issues #1 and #3. She has four works in the Ragged Edge Anthology entitled, Vault IX - Alpha Anthology, as well as a column at Ragged Edge Publishing entitled; The Fountain Pen. She won second place in Writer's Nook and Reader's Corners picture contest.
Monday, August 08, 2005
This week on The News you will be seeing --
Tuesday - Fantasy Revealed
Wednesday - we have a new piece of fiction to offer by a writer (I hope) who will continue to support The News with submissions. I believe you will enjoy what is in store for Wednesday this week!
Thursday - Fantasy Revealed
Friday - a review of the movie Dukkes of Hazzard
Saturday - a grab bag, who knows what will appear!
Friday, August 05, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Recently I've been struggling. You name it I have been having problems with it. Today, upon waking, I felt the old horrible familiar oppression hit me and I was at a loss as to what to do with it, or for it. As usual, I began writing in my journal (the paper one), and pouring out all of my fears, the sorrow, the over-whelming feelings, and sought to try and figure out how to get my head, life, heart, spirit, you name it, back into some semblance of an order.
In the midst of the writing I realized I had said I was a Christian. The old Protestant training blared out in bold screaming words, "But if you were being a good Christian you wouldn't be having these problems!" That's when I stopped writing in my journal and actually started thinking about this.
IF I was a good Christian, was there really supposed to be no bad days, no pains and problems? I have rheumatoid arthritis. I hurt every day. Some Protestants have said I wasn't a good Christian or I would be healed. My husband and I are struggling to make ends meet, and there isn't a more devoted and devout man than my B, so why are we having problems with money? Is it me? And finally, I looked inside at my own turmoil and wondered what I had done to make all of this come about. What had I done to make me not be the "good Christian" I always wanted to be; was this what was causing me such mental and emotional anguish?
Then I thought about all of the people I know who are struggling to make it in their careers, their dreams, and in their personal lives and inside themselves. They ARE Christians in my eyes, so what was going on with them?
Yeah, I know, sometimes I'm quite blond, but I don't believe I'm dumb.
I picked up my Bible and began reading it. All through it there was turmoil, hardship, even some depression the prophets and apostles went through, even Christ Himself. If Christ, being fully human and fully God, went through these times, what made me so damn special? I wasn't. I'm not.
In seeing I am really not all that different from other people, from the Saints themselves, I can honestly say I looked at myself in a different light and all of the other problems I've been going through settled themselves. The deep dark abyss that seemed to threaten me with every ounce of malice it could muster receded a little. Oh, it's there, it's waiting and it will try and wash over me again, but, for now, I am doing better. I can make it through today, and if all goes well I will make it through tomorrow, but before tackling tomorrow, I'm going to do exactly what I did today: I am going to write about it, fix all of the negatives and positives, the tasks and the dreams, and I am going to turn to the Bible and to my prayer book, because I'm not going to make it without them through this tempestuous sea of life any more.
Yes, the medication I had helped beyond measure to keep back the dark abyss, but we can't afford it any more. Thank goodness God is free monetarily wise, it just means I have to practice what I think now, and I am trusting I will do that (even though I may stumble through the days at points).
Why write about this here? Why not? Isn't it good when you run across someone that honestly says, "Hey, I'm going through some tough shit, but I think maybe I've figured out something?" Sometimes it is good to know other people go through this stuff, too, and sometimes it is good to read about it.
No, I'm not preaching, Heaven forbid! I think maybe, just maybe, I have hit upon something that will help me out of the void into the place I was before. I can also hear Marx saying, "Religion is the opiate of the people." My answer? If people don't have something bigger than themselves to turn to, true happiness can't be found, or striven for. There are far too many problems we have to face as is, why try and take away something that is inherent in the human make up: belief. We have believed in something our entire history. We have been reaching out for something more, trying to reconnect with something we lost throughout history. You cannot stop people from believing. You cannot stop people, humanity from looking for something bigger than them to help them through their lives. It has always been, and it will always be, until we meet God face to face with fear and trembling. Personally, I'd like a few more good works and happinesses down here first before meeting Him. I would like to say I have survived life with my faith, my belief in tact, than to wonder on my death bed if I missed something vital. Who knows, maybe that will happen any way, but maybe, just maybe it won't. And maybe, just maybe, I can make it through today without having a semi-nervous-breakdown.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Fantasy Revealed, Part 3
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (c) 2005 by H.A. Handy
My breath caught in my chest. Avalon, THE Avalon was where King Arthur was taken. They were all talking now, suddenly alarmed and I was having something pushed into my hands and I drank again that oddly sweet liquid and found myself sitting on the ground with my back against the log I had recently been sitting on. Ella and Enyo were at my side looking just as concerned, their hackles half-risen, and were looking suspiciously from one person to the next. Cappa was purring on my shoulder as she usually did when I was sick with the flu.
“It’s all a bit much,” I said, looking from one worried face to the next, animal faces included. Dremor gave me a half smile and nodded.
“I suppose it would be,” he said. “This is our world, our life, and you have just been thrust into its very depths without any warning. Still, Fredrik said you would be brave and up to the challenge.”
“That’s good to know. When do I get to meet this Fredrik?” Dremor smiled down at me then and rubbed my shoulders. His touch helped relieve some of the tenseness that was beginning to build there.
“Soon, I promise. You stay here and protect the entry way. If someone is following us, or tried to follow us, they will attempt to come through the pass at Willow Bend.” The others nodded. Dremor whistled, a high pitched sound that almost made my ears ache, and horses came galloping up.
They were beyond beautiful. In fact, they looked like something from a fantasy novel’s cover art with their long flowing manes and the richly decorated bridles and saddles. There were six in all – a white one, a black one, a red one, and a brown one. Dremor went directly to the black one who nuzzled Dremor’s hand and made those soft horsy sounds of endearment. Dremor stroked the long mane and patted the broad neck lovingly. He led the horse close and introduced him, literally, to the dogs, the cat, and to me. The horse’s name, as far as I could make out, was Wellborn. In greeting me, the horse bent his neck close and nuzzled my hair and made those same grunting gruffling sounds horses make. The horsy smell was wonderful and brought back memories of when I was a little girl and used to ride almost every day on the farm. It had been years since I had ridden a horse.
Dremor helped me to stand unceremoniously then, with strength I’ve only read about in novels and seen on movie screens, he lifted me easily into his arms and then stepped into the saddle. It all happened so fast I felt my heart beat hard and the world seem to flash by. I was seated across his lap and Wellborn’s saddle. Cappa was handed up and she nested herself quite serenely in my lap. Ella and Enyo, uncertain about the new animal, barked a few worried barks before dancing on the front feet. How horribly they must have been feeling! They were in the wilds and their mom and their cat were being taken away on some huge beast with someone they didn’t know.
Dremor touched the flanks of the horse with his heels and we were off like a literal shot. I glanced back and saw the dogs following at full speed. I just hoped they could keep up!
We went through a valley in no time, up a small hill and through another valley, across a stream and then into the deepest woods I’ve ever seen. There was a path before us weaving in and out of the trees and Wellborn and Dremor navigated it with seeming ease. I would have closed my eyes had I not been afraid of slipping off or becoming violently ill. The breakneck ride gave me the will I needed to ask for my own mount the next time, I decided. I believe I would have felt more in control in riding a horse alone, than in being the passenger as I currently was.
The forest ended suddenly and I saw we were on the crest of a hill. The path opened up into a broad road which led to a blue and green city of dazzling color and beauty. I can’t say it was a ‘fairy tale’ city, because I didn’t really see so many towers, but there was a tower, set at the main rear of the walled city. It glistened in the sunlight like a magnificent green gem with a gray-black roof.
The city was huge, walled, and there were people moving about at the outskirts of the wall in a make-shift town of its own. Horses, animals, people and smoke all seemed to merge and mix together there.
Ella and Enyo came up beside us, panting hard. Dremor slid off of the horse with me in his arms, and sat me simply upon my feet. Cappa sniffed the air curiously, as did the dogs. I knelt, just as much to get my legs back under me fully as anything else, and patted the dogs. They were proud of themselves, and tired. It was so easy to see it in their eyes. Even Cappa sniffed at their noses and didn’t try to smack them.
With the reins in his hand, Dremor reached out to me and I took his hand and stood. Slowly, in silence, we began to walk toward the city. Ella and Enyo followed after, probably glad at the slower pace we now had. As we walked down the hill the gates of the city were filled with horses and riders heading our way at full speed, flags of blue and green stripes in several hands. They were already upon us when I squeaked and hid behind Dremor.
For his own part, Dremor didn’t seem to be too happy. His brow furrowed and he looked up at the elves on horseback with distaste, or perhaps distrust.
“Is this her? Is this the keeper?” asked one of them, standing in his stirrups to get a better look at me. Dremor slid a protective arm around me and pulled me close against him.
“She is,” he said. His voice held something akin to malice. “Where is the normal guard?”
“We’ve replaced them for a bit. Lord English thought the wizard was getting too upity so our band took over the guard. It isn’t right for a human to tell an elf what to do,” he sneered.
“This human has been helping us elves for centuries, why should now be any different?” Dremor demanded.
“Lord English says....”
“I don’t care what Lord English says!” Dremor snapped. “When the proper guard is prepared, we will enter the city, but not before.”
“We ARE the proper guard, Lord of Drem.” The leader made a circling motion with his hand and the riders encircled us.
“This is not how I wanted your entrance into Avalon to be,” Dremor said to me softly. “Come.” Together we began walking. The mounted guard kept us directly in the center and walked with us. I suddenly felt more like a prisoner than anything else, and I didn’t like the feeling. I wished the horses would all just spook and run into the forest!
As if I had commanded it, the horses began bucking, kicking, rearing and headed into the forest. Some riders were dismounted, others were holding on desperately. A branch took out the leader of the guard who ended up lying on his back.
Dremor looked down at me curiously, and then he smiled, “Shall we?”
“What just happened?” I asked when we had not gone very far.
“I’m not sure. Wellborn said you had a wish, and since you are who you are, the mounts obeyed.”
“Who am I?”
“The keeper of ... something important,” he said, “I wish I had more of an answer than that.” A heavy sigh escaped Dremor as he looked to the city that was becoming enormous the closer we came to it. “It appears things have changed since I came to get you,” he said. “Lord English has long wanted to push Fredrik into the shadows. He believes an elven kingdom should only have elven ministers.”
“Do only elves live in the kingdom?”
“No, there are many humans, some dwarves, and even a few giants. The fairy queendom is to the south and some trolls live in the farthest reaches of the north, but they don’t have any say in matters of government because of their history and their very natures.”
“So, it doesn’t make sense to have only a majority without the rest of the populace being represented.”
Dremor chuckled and took my hand. “We are not a representative government. We have a king. A very good king at that, but he is growing weary and Lord English fancies himself as the regent of King Arthur’s son, should something happen to King Arthur.”
“King Arthur? THE King Arthur?” Dremor smiled at the city that seemed to be made of glistening gems and living wood.
“Welcome, to Avalon my lady,” he said, bowing low to me.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
And like most of my visits to the hallowed halls of the news, I bear unfortunate tidings – the Editor has called to inform me that she is laid up in bed with very bad headaches. I’ve not seen or felt anything like her very bad headaches. I’ve had headaches that I thought were very bad, but in comparison to her very bads, they seemed weak by comparison.
They rarely last more than a day or so for her, except in the most rare of cases, so I imagine she’ll be back to her chipper self tomorrow morning – or by Thursday at the latest. I can report that she has begun working on the second draft of WHRTTT as of this week, and is hopeful to have it winging it’s way to some lucky publisher in a short time.
If I return tomorrow, I shall do so with some form of prose or poetical musing. In the meantime, please direct any extra good thoughts the Editor’s way, won’t you?
Monday, August 01, 2005
Bruce Campbell is going to be in Lexington at Joseph-Beth Booksellers on August 4th, at 6PM to sign copies of his newest book, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way and then trek over to the Kentucky Theater to held premiere his new movie, The Man With The Screaming Brain.
Wow, Bruce Campbell, this is very cool indeed! I wish I wasn't as shy as I feel because then I would actually end up at Joseph-Beth's and actually meet the man and discuss screamplays with him (no, that was not a typo). Maybe he would be receptive, maybe not. I'm just not all that good with this sort of thing. If I could interview him over the phone I bet I'd be great!
Yeah, I'm a chicken fan girl sometimes.
Was tooling around different web sites and checking out little pieces of fandom here and there and came across something I felt somewhat curious about.
The TV schedule for this fall has three science fiction shows running. On ABC we have Invasion about a possible alien invasion; on on NBC we have Surface about a possible alien invasion; and on CBS we have Threshold which is about a possible alien invasion. Part of me wonders if copying is a really cool thing because you admire something someone else is doing, which one of these shows is the really cool show and which ones are the copies? Also, there is another part of me that wonders, what do they know that we, the rest of the world, don't?
They are remaking The Fog from 1979 fame. It is going to be starring our dear Smallville superguy, Tom Welling.
Currently Jessica Simpson's "These Boots" is my favorite video. I have SO fought trying to like Jessica Simpson because of that stupid show she and her husband were on when they got married, but this video is simply too much fun to ignore.
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction is a magazine I am determined to be published in one day.