Sneak Peek at today’s writing/editing

Jon sighed. The only things visible from the hard, incarcerating, lumpy bed were dingy walls, a spider web Alec would sweep away if he knew it was there without waiting for the innkeeper’s staff to do it, dust collecting along the top edge of the baseboard and wall molding, and a view that never grew tiresome: Alec himself. His rear end whenever he bent over to scrub the floor. His wayward hair tumbling into his face; his jaw jutting out as he struggled to tackle unfamiliar tasks. His strong fingers buttoning, tugging, and tying whatever attire Jon was to wear for the day.

### End of Sneak Peek ###

Sneak Peek at early morning writing

Olivia sheltered from the brilliance of First and Second Sun under a pale Cushy Soft Tree. Her back
lounged against the pillowy, yielding bark that seemed to hug her shoulders. Her hands rested in her lap. Her legs stretched out comfortably. She’d been there over an hour, closer to two, and the umbrella-shaped leaves of a vining plant had sagged against her ankles. It was seeking relief from the afternoon suns, too, she thought. From time to time she would shut her eyes attempting to nap, but inevitably they snapped back open and combed the sky between the puffs of clouds

Why hadn’t they come back for her? The Shuttle Commander’s vehicle was destroyed, but they had several others that they utilized to transport scientists and officials. Dispatching a search party would have been easy, and, frankly, doing so was their duty. She would have sent a detachment to rescue any of them. Her trip was the last one, unauthorized by the military, but she was the Raedwald here, so her authority outweighed theirs. The deadline passed seven days ago. The military and their human cargo were on their way back to Earth without her.


She flexed her left knee intending to shift her leg so that the limb wouldn’t start tingling, but the leg wouldn’t move. Looking down, she realized that the shady vines had twined completely around both of her ankles and were slinking up her calves. She reached forward to use her hands to free her legs, but the Cushy Soft Tree had curved around her upper body. She was trapped, being swallowed by the indigenous flora of Terra Saint Edmunds.

Song of the Blessed


Even the pensioned and salaried operative
who pays the mortgage promptly,
who keeps both cars cleaned and washed
and topped up with petrol,
who can afford a daughter’s six-figure bridal gown,
who teaches children on Sunday;
Even the officer, the jury, the judge;
Even the governor.
There is no sort-of sacred,
No mix-and-match option.
No pick and choose your own.
Sanctity is all or nothing. Even the Sanctioned One
with the needle, the bullet, the rope;
Even the Prefect of Judea with freshly cleansed hands,
the centurion ready with forged iron nails;
Even Longinus standing to one side with a spear.
Yes,
even the executioner
commits murder.

© 2022 Vera S. Scott

Sneak Peek at today’s writing/editing – I may have shared this before, but it’s one of my favorite passages:

Smiling at Louisa, Albert escorted her inside then lifted the palm of her hand to his lips to kiss. “Your fingers are beautiful, Louisa. Every day I listened for the sound of your footsteps. Light but purposeful. Different from anyone else’s. You brought me things. Food. Water. Toothpaste. Soft slippers that you flattened to get through the gap at the bottom of the door. My old shoes no longer fit. Those slippers were the only thing I had to keep my feet warm. Once in a while, you’d bring a smaller tray with whiskey or a bit of wine. I’d use one corner of the tray to pour it into one of the two, chipped pottery cups I found. I always toasted you before drinking. The best thing. The most special. The most important. What I prayed for and hoped for and couldn’t ever get enough of was holding your hand when you reached your fingers under the door. No one else touched me all that time I was in that room. The Old Duke, or his steward, would hurt me. But I mean, gentle touching, ordinary, day-to-day touching, like when Edward would bump his shoulder against me as a joke, or the cook messed up my hair after she’d given me an extra cookie no one else knew about. I had to lie on the floor to wrap my fingers around yours. Did you realize that? Did you have to, too? I memorized each fingertip, each nail, the crease of each knuckle, knuckles usually ruddy from scrubbing. I would have lain on the floor for hours, day into night, night into day, to keep holding your hand, continue caressing your elegant fingers. May I hold them now, Louisa? Your beautiful hands?”

A Rant about Algorithms

To date I have not recorded nor posted anything of my own on TikTok, and I don’t know that I will. However, I have found musicians, poets, and other folks whose videos I enjoy, and I like to spend time browsing through their posts to see what they’re up to.

I made the mistake, though, of stopping to read several posts deliberately written to convey an entire story in only two or three sentences. The problem is the posts I looked at were horror stories. I read them because of how tight and precise the use of language was; the writing was superb. Unfortunately, TikTok thinks I read them because they were horror stories about inflicting pain on other people. Now I am being inundated with posts about people hurting each other, or being hurt by someone else.

Grrr

SNEAK PEEK at today’s writing/editing:

“What happens to the souls?”

“What happens?”

“Yes, when we go ‘through the Veil” what happens?”

“You get drunk. You lounge around and get high from the chemicals inside Giric. He gets nourishment from the aura, ah, gas and things, that drunken souls emit. It’s symbiotic. Souls can stay as long as they wish, leave when they wish, or move on to Heaven or whatever is ‘beyond’. Many decide to simply hang around and enjoy it. Most likely I won’t hang around, but will follow Giric. He and I are almost one and I can’t imagine my life without him.”

“How did that happen?”

“My mother found a damaged Veil egg and out of kindness tried to save the being inside. That was Giric. Her mistake was to rest Giric on her abdomen when I was growing inside her womb. We bonded. We’re called Brothers of the Dance. Eolians dislike me at the same time that they revere me. They don’t consider me an abomination, exactly, the way Earth Christians Label me.”

“You’ve had trouble with Christians?”

“Yes, once. They burnt me at the stake. But, you see, I can’t die.”

A gasped escaped Finn’s lips. Seth smiled and added, “Giric came for me and repaired me.”

###End of Sneak Peek###

Hero

 What characteristics must someone have to be a hero? Are there other characteristics that cancel out the “hero-positive” ones?


When I was around 17 years old, the family physician told my father that he had to walk more. Rainy or snowy, sunny or cloudy, the doctor wanted my father outside walking everyday. The season was balanced on the cusp of late winter and early spring. My father and mother headed to a nearby state park to walk, rather than stroll alongside the road.  To get to the park, they had to descend the north side of a steep hill that still had ice on the ground. My father failed to see a patch of that ice, and slipped. As he fell he stuck out his right hand to catch himself.  The wrist broke. He jerked his hand back, calling out, “I broke it!” When the rest of him slammed into the side of the hill, his hip broke, too.

Although my mother was unwilling to leave him there helpless and crying in pain, she knew she had to find help. This was decades more mobile phones, so she climbed back up the hill and ran toward my grandparents’ house which was immediately across the street from where we lived.

While she was gone, the neighbor who lived two or three miles up the road drove by in his pickup truck with his father-in-law in the passenger seat. The two men saw my father, pulled over to the side of the road and hiked down the hill.  Like most country men, they were dressed in heavy, everyday work clothes, so the neighbor sat down in the ice and snow beside my father to hold him so that my dad wouldn’t slide farther down the hill, or re-injury himself somehow.  The father-in-law went back up to the road to stop traffic so they could gather together enough people to carry my 6-foot-tall father up the hill.  By the time my mother returned with my grandparents, my brother and myself, a small collection of people were there.  My grandfather, a retired police officer, wanted to roll my father onto a ladder and use that as a stretcher to get my dad up the hill.  None of the rest of us wanted to move my dad, but we were women and children to my grandfather and he dismissed our objections out-of-hand.  The neighbor is the one whose refusal convinced my grandfather to simply wait for the ambulance. 

It took the ambulance a goodly while to get there – out in the country few things are convenient by city standards – and with the help of everyone whom the father-in-law had recruited, my father was hoisted safely up the hill and into the ambulance.  Afterward he was laid up for several months. From time to time he would say, “Once I can walk again, I’m going to [my neighbor] and shake his hand.”

He never did, though.  He recovered. He walked first with crutches and then on his own without any problem. The thing that kept him from expressing his gratitude was that several months after my father’s accident….a year or so…the neighbor was arrested for attempted murder.

So there’s my question.  What is a hero?

In fairness, I must tell you that the neighbor was never prosecuted. All the charges were dropped. The story came to me at least third-hand, so I won’t say where it happened or who was involved, but apparently teen-age friends from school were visiting the neighbor’s children and one of the visitors was stabbed. The victim had no memory of the attack and couldn’t say that the neighbor did it.  Remember how I said this was gossip that had passed from ear to ear for a while?  The story as it came to me was that the real reason the victim couldn’t remember the neighbor assaulting him is because the assailant was the neighbor’s wife. 

Did the man allow himself to be arrested as a way of protecting his wife? 

I don’t know. I’m not even sure I conclusively know what a hero is.  I think that in some ways all of us are heroes, and all of us are not.