East is West

The woods appeared unchanged on the other side of the archway. Hanging near the horizon, the sun warmed the chill of the previous night as it began its climb. The yellow and orange foliage glistened in its rays. Dew on the green ground cover freshened the air like clean bed linens. The girl basked in the splendor of the new day before continuing her exploration of this unknown path.

Venturing further away from the entrance, the sunlight faded, and a long shadow followed her. A few fireflies blinked in the depths of the forest. As twilight waned, thousands twinkled in every direction, illuminating her way. A cool breeze whistled through the trees, intensifying their enchanting flashes. Mesmerized, she ambled down the path without purpose.

Darkness descended upon the woods. The lightning bugs danced around her. Using her hand, she brushed a few of them away from her face. She imagined her breath’s web ensnaring an errant bug. The trail of luminous juice that it left in its wake as it traveled down her throat. The thought of the magical properties it might have. She giggled and skipped along her way.

The hum of their wings chimed in her ears, compelling her to twirl and prance down the trail. Her movement synchronized with their tune. The trill of flutes, fiddles, and mandolins filled the woodland. But she stopped dead in her tracks when she heard a tiny voice ask, “Won’t you join us in our merriment?”


My inspiration for this bit of fiction was originally posted on Instagram (suzeq221) as part of my #wednesdaywriting initiative. I’d love to hear your story idea inspired by this photo. Where does your imagination take you?

Door to My Imagination

Being #writingwedesday, I set aside some time to write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes, it might be putting pen to paper and writing about an idea or a scene unfolding in my mind. Other times, it’s a photo that captures my imagination. Today, I used this picture as my inspiration.

Photo credit: unknown

Most photos give me story ideas when I contemplate what they say to me. I like to use the stream of consciousness style as I consider the subject. With this approach, a common theme usually emerges. And some times, my rambling thoughts morph into a piece of flash fiction or short story afterwards.

Here’s this week’s introspected look at the elements of this door in my imagination.

* * * *

Rotted wood in corner damaged left open too long not opened soon enough; two angles met but never cross never intersect; don’t run parallel one horizonal one vertical up down sideways back and forth going one way or the other; linear straight angles no curves twist of fate.

Ivy crawling on the door invasive intruding insistent on getting in won’t take no for an answer breaking down the barrier or setting boundaries sealing in thoughts emotions feelings; no door knob on outside of the door can’t get in no shelter; locks both inside outside feelings locking emotions inside keeping them out open your mind close your mind.

Ivy on the tree strangling wringing life out of it invading its trunk its core thick solid its heart and soul protected against adversity rejection abandonment; slithering its way to the branches the bearers of seeds creators of new life more than one way to accomplish a goal take another tack driven to succeed blind ambition.

Moss on the floor organic natural nature smothering the inanimate manufactured lifeless concrete stone gravel break down into soil add water sunlight life reborn the cycle; cracks on the wall cracks in armor crumbling walls more barriers breaking down nothing can keep thoughts beliefs feelings out hidden away exposing secrets insecurities letting go of doubts liberating freedom confidence strength fortitude opening a world of possibilities the world’s your oyster find your pearl.

Groundcover undergrowth over the threshold of the doorway more ivy door can no longer be closed once opened can’t be close can’t put the lid back on can of worms don’t like worms they ruin the smell of rain slimy hands when baiting a hook but good for the dirt creators of rich black fertile soil; uh-oh off track off the rails thoughts too deep too heavy pause take a breath bring it back online in line; was the door left open to let in fresh air welcome new perspectives why did the ivy invade, did it take advantage of the opportunity laid in wait for the opportunity to creep in to block the exit or seek out the negative smother it allowing the positive to come in.

Glass in door looking out transparency seeing with clarity a clear vision the possibilities of letting go not holding back wiping the fog from the window to see out; no it’s opaque clouded not veiled by curtain but obscured hiding secrets self-doubt covering up inhibitions vulnerabilities not letting anyone see the fragilities ashamed.

Light bright sunlight in meadow beyond the tree openness unobscured let in the light see the light facing fears releasing those fears open the mind to new possibilities; more dense woods beyond, doors open and close, when one door closes don’t look back look forward look for new doors to open new opportunities fresh perspectives.

Stream of thought writing is so much fun for me. It got a little heavy at times in this piece, but the contrast of ideas was compelling. Now I’ll let it simmer on the back burner while I think about what elements like characters, setting, and of course, magic are needed to create an appetizing story.

Fiction: He’s Watching

This piece is an attempt at the stream of consciousness style. I’m not sure I nailed the technique, but I enjoyed writing it. It stirred my emotions, and it’s good any time we are moved by something whether it’s art, music, a novel, or a conversation. The setting is a bar where a woman is talking with a man, a friend, and she catches her lover watching them from a distance.


He’s watching us, not wondering what we are talking about; if the topics of our conversation are engaging, boring; or having his own thoughts, taking it to another level, down another path, oh the places we go, no;

He’s watching me interact with you; do I look at you when I speak, if you look at me; when I’m listening, I look at anything but you, disinterested, interested; my gazed fixed on you, my attention hanging on your every word;

He’s watching me laugh, giggle like a school girl, purr like a kitten; my smile, my lips soft, supple; coy, pouting; my eyes sparkling, affectionate, rolling, sneering; am I’m watching him, feeling his piercing wonder;

He’s watching me, am I sitting back, relaxed and at ease, sitting forward on the edge of my seat, anxious, nervous; crossing uncrossing my legs, shifting my posture, turned towards you, turned away, neutral, facing forward;

He’s watching me talking with my hands, clasping them, wringing them with doubt, pointing my finger, twirling a strand of hair, tapping them to the beat of the music, snapping in time, picking my nails;

He’s watching me, my demeanor, my presence, enchanted, intrigued, come closer, tell me more; dreary, obnoxious, he’s out of his mind, disturbed, an opportunist, preying on his friend’s lover; smitten by me;

He’s watching me, my every move, gesture, admiring, learning, who am I, nonverbal cues, signals, no words, silent observing, interpreting, contemplating, what does it mean, am I faithful, loyal; or two-timing, double-dipping;

I’m watching him as he watches me, what is he thinking about, his sweet smile, smoldering eyes, hand resting on his knee, sipping his drink, elbow on the bar, does he trust me, know I’m committed, truehearted, does he love me?

Fiction: Paczki Day

Outside, the sky was dark with rain-laden clouds. The lightning temporarily blinded the people coming and going on the sidewalk. Thunder rumbled, shaking the foundations of the centuries-old buildings lining Main Street. One thunderclap released a torrent of rain, soaking everything not shielded from it within minutes. Soon, water rushed through the streets, and the awnings over the front doors sagged from the weight of the rain collecting in them. But the violence outside was nothing compared to the battle raging inside the bakery.

It was Fat Tuesday, celebrated in Pole Town with paczki, fried fruit-filled donuts. Bakers across town labored all night, making sure they had enough inventory for the hundreds of fervent people who started lining up at 4:00 am to get their hands on a dozen of the delights.

With wands drawn, late comers Doretha and Eloise waged war over the last dozen, scattering chairs and tables with bolts of energy when they missed their mark. Among other casualties were shattered dishware and cracked glass of now empty display cases. As the combatants danced around each other, Doretha’s bolt made contact with Eloise, thrusting her out the front door onto the sidewalk. Doretha rushed forward to gauge the effectiveness of her strike when the awning above the entrance collapsed, sending a wall of water crashing down on Eloise. She screamed in agony as she melted into the sidewalk. Turning away from the scene, Doretha casually collected the last dozen paczki.

“First Thought, Best Thought”

Recently, I’ve noticed a renewed interest in the beat poets of the 1950s. Namely, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassady. The interest is not so much about their messages as it is about the spoken word delivered with or without music accompaniment. In other words, the revival of poetry readings popular in the 1960s.

The allure of these readings is the style of the writing. When the written word is spoken, it has a rhythmic quality. Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg described the style as “First thought, best thought.” In literary terms, the style is referred to as stream of consciousness.

I explored this narrative technique in a writing workshop. The subject matter of my exercise doesn’t even come close to the contemplative musings of the Beat poets. Or any other poet for that matter. It’s a simple stream of thought based on the given prompt which was someone infatuated with someone else at an audition for the leading lady role in local theater production.

Oh, my gosh, I’m so nervous; remember, he has no idea how I feel about him, he’ll never think I’m expressing my feelings for him so relax and get a grip, I need to channel my feelings into the character, if I don’t, I won’t get the part and won’t get the chance to hang out with him during rehearsals; he’ll give it to his regular leading lady, Janice, she’s been in the lead role for the past two productions when he’s been the director, maybe there’s something going on between them, but they don’t seem flirty when they are together, all business when they interact, and I’ve never seen them together outside of the theater, she’s never joined us after rehearsals or any other time we get together at the Irish Cue; where I fell head over heels for him, attracted by his charisma, he was so charming when we talked, especially when we talked about theater, remember he invited me to the audition for this production, I hope he doesn’t think I’ll sleep with him to get the part; That’s it, Janice is sleeping with him; that’s why she always get the lead roles; Oh my gosh, I have to stop psyching myself out about this audition.

The fun part of this technique is it is actually the internal voice in your mind. A friend once made a comment about how she maintains her dedication to daily exercise. She said she stops talking to herself about it. This perspective resonated with me because I’m constantly talking to myself. Hence the name of my blog, Idle Ramblings. Internal dialogue with myself is a part of everyday life from mental to-do lists to developing strategies to execute said list.

On the creative side, I find myself contemplating story ideas on a regular basis. These thoughts are usually prompted by various accounts I follow on social media. My mind drifts off pondering the what-if scenarios, which happens to be another creative writing drill. To continue the stream of consciousness exercise, I’m going to dictate my thoughts to see what comes out of them. Come back soon to see the results.