A Glimmer of a Ghost Story
Cobwebs. Little silk and dust leftovers from the spiders that shared the cabin with us this summer. Now all that is left are these grey, filmy little ghosts. I stare at them for long moments; first contemplating how best to clean them off the high ceilings, then entranced as they slowly undulate with the cycles of the heater. As the heater comes on and moves the air around the room, these wispy waifs begin to sway, but as the warm air rises and touches their loose tendrils, the webs start to shiver, overcome with excitement at the warm kiss of air. When the heater cuts off, these ghostly gypsies begin to quiet, the movement ends after one last heaving breath.
A Glimmer of Betrayal
I am sitting here waiting. For what? For the silly season to end? No. For the unthinkable end of a loved one? Thankfully no, but close. I am waiting for the end of someone I care for’s pain. They have been emotionally torn asunder. A person they loved has hurt them deeply to the point of no return. How do I help them through this? How can I ease the pain when I myself feel so much anger at the inflictor of this pain. After an hour and a half conversation about the lies, and the deceit, and the improbable but possible scenarios I see it. The tear in the eye. The tell-tale sign of the depth of the wound. This is from someone who is strong beyond belief. Herculean fortitude. I have seen this person at the depths of despair, and it is nothing compared to this pain. How do I help? I must put away my own minuscule anger and open myself to their grief; not grief from physical loss, but grief from an emotional betrayal. A grief that will have no closure. I must make myself available to take in this grief and return love, acceptance, and above all else security. Security in knowing that the love given was not a symptom of weakness, but a symbol of strength. I can do this. It will be difficult because when somebody hurts someone I love I become a living wraith of wrath. But I will keep my revenge inside for now. I will only allow love and understanding to come forth. But I will keep my weapons and my rapier sharp tongue ready.
A Glimmer of Light
Did anyone else, back in high school on a Friday night, bored beyond belief, spy a pair of searchlights in the night sky and say to your best friend riding shotgun, “Hey, let’s check out where those lights are”? Only me? Really? Oh well, Albuquerque was pretty boring. Anyway, if you have ever seen those spotlights up close, you have seen how they pick up every little fiber, or rain drop, or cigarette smoke that crosses their bright light path. Today was very foggy here at our little cabin. And it became more thick as dusk and night dropped down upon us. In the throes of twilight I happened to be outside with my flashlight. The tiny droplets of the heavy mist caught the light of my flashlight and sparkled with brilliance that could be seen for a mile. Well, at least in my imagination it could be seen for a mile. And with the humidity came breath that swirled and danced like cigarette smoke slowly exhaled in a dive bar on the wrong side of town waiting for the band to begin playing. It was eerie, it was magical, it was a relatively warm evening after a bout of cold wet weather. It was being present in the moment to see past the meteorological reality and just stop and marvel at these barest of water droplets bobbing and weaving in the night air and catching the light of a simple flashlight and reflect it back into the darkness so that it caught a middle aged woman’s fantasy and took her back to a lazy summer evening with nothing to do. The smile and the memory warmed me more than any jacket ever could. And for that moment I was free, dancing in the light of my man-made moonbeam.
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This post is in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge – Collecting Detail.
Being a writer isn’t something you can shuck off, like a hat or a coat — being a writer is a quality that lives inside you — a part of your brain you simply can’t shut off, doing the work of the writer regardless of whether you’re out and about during your day or you’re in front of your typewriter, your screen, or your notebook.
The writer’s brain constantly collects fodder, the tiny details that enliven your writing, that help you create vivid imagery, scenes, stories, novels, and poems. In short, a writer is a writer, 24/7/365, no matter whether you’re at the grocery store, walking down your street, or on a plane.
Three glimmers and at least a paragraph
In today’s challenge, you’ll turn your observational superpowers on high alert. (You might want to carry a notebook or a slip of paper and a pen to be able to capture the details when they’re fresh in your mind.) Pick three original details from encounters during your day or your week. It could be the quality of the moonlight filtering through bare oak trees on to the snow in your back yard. It could be the red of a small child’s coat against drab buildings in the inner city, the adhesive sound of car tires on a wet street, the acrid smell of wheat stubble burning in a farmer’s field. Maybe it’s the whiteblack flash and peep of a chickadee passing overhead, or the sound of a toddler giggling.
Once you’ve collected your details, your “glimmers of a beginning,” write at least one paragraph containing your original details.
Challenge yourself to keep your observational superpowers on high at all times. Be on alert for snippets of dialogue, sights, sounds, and smells that you can use in your stories, and be sure to have fun with this challenge. Can’t wait to read your original details.