Category Archives: A Writer’s Musings

A New Start Opening Pandora

That incredibly emotive paragraph I wrote for the last blog post got me thinking again about Opening Pandora--a story I’ve been wanting to write but one that has lacked any kind of structure or focus. My biggest obstacle has been that I’ve had no idea how Stephanie’s journey begins. I’ve known where I want to take her, at least in part, but how to start… again, the complaint of pantsing your way through a manuscript. In fact, there have been several false starts, a few of them punished to this blog, actually. None of them worked, otherwise I would have been able to continue  her tale. But I like this one… it resonates a truth to me. Setting up her ordinary world, before everything changes.  What do you think?

Emptiness is like a plague, robbing life of light and color, stealing the innocence of beauty and the hope of joy, leaving only the shades of memory and longing. And I’d been living in the shadows far too long. I raised my glass. “Happy Anniversary.”

As usual, he didn’t answer back, merely smiled from beneath the glass pane, his likeness forever captured, his essence forever lost.

Right on schedule, my laptop sprang to life, calling me away from the past, and I clicked to answer.

“Hey, beautiful. How’s Durham?” A shinning, persistently optimistic face beamed back at me.

“Good evening, Dr. Monroe. How’s life in Boston?”

Joe swept his hand to the view behind him, a bank of floor to ceiling windows reflecting a cityscape lit up like a Christmas tree. “Effervescent.”

I shook my head. “You’re too damn cheerful.”

“Only around you, which begs the question. When are you coming back from that godforsaken place? Chatting but once a week is becoming tortuous. I miss you.” Joe was an urban socialite. The idea of leaving the seat of all that is modern and convenient for a small town, despite its natural beauty, surrounded as it was by lakes and forests, was heresy.

“I miss you too.” I sipped my wine.

“You’re avoiding the question.” He crossed his arms.

“I know this is hard for you to grasp, but it’s very peaceful here. I needed the break.”

“Well, surely you’re done traipsing about with the fairies and wee folk of the bogs and glens by now. It’s been a month.” He moved closer to the screen on his computer. “You’re chewing your fingernails. Oh, God. What are you not telling me?”

I dropped my hand as if I’d been caught reaching for a hot pot on the stove.

“Stephanie. What is it?”

“I found a job.” I came out as a whoosh, the urge to finish chewing my nail chasing quick on its heels.

“A job? You mean to stay then?” His voice screamed incredulous, but his eyes searched me across the miles, crestfallen.

“I can’t come back Joe. There’s nothing there for me now.”

“I know it was hard losing Jason, but you have friends here, a career…”

“And I’m grateful to you for both, but I need a mulligan, a clean start. I can’t do that in Boston where every café, every restaurant, every street I walk down reminds me of him.”

“It’s been over a year, Steph.”

“I know, that’s why I’m here. I have to do this.”

He leaned back, neatly manicured eyebrows drawn together in consternation. “There’s no budging you?”

“I’m not saying this is a permanent solution; it’s just a right-now solution.”

He regarded me, like a chess player assessing his next move. “Fine. Then Christopher and I are coming for a holiday.”

“Better bring goulashes—gets pretty mucky on all the dirt roads.”

The look of horror on his face made me spit out some of my wine. “Jesus, Joe.” I dabbed at my eyes and the mess with tissue. “It’s not that bad. I promise.”

He put a hand over his heart. “I’m only considering this because I love you. Christopher, however, might have my balls.”

“Well, it’s a good thing he’s been taking such good care of them all these years then isn’t it. He’s not likely to damage them now.”

“You don’t know how much he hates mud.” He grimaced.

“Well, let me know if and when you two decide to come down. I’ve got plenty of room.”

“I’ll clear it with the hospital and get back to you.” He paused. “You sure you’re okay?”

“I’m good. Honest. It’s been a rough day, but I start at the pub tomorrow. I’m actually excited.”

“The pub? What on earth have you gotten yourself into?”

“I’m the new bartender.”

Rock and Car: A Breathtaking Tale of Extraordinary Love Against Impossible Odds

The following fanciful tale is based on a true story… a story that resulted in $1100 damage, a tow, and tears. No actual people were injured in the telling of this story.

Rock & Car

Once upon a time there was a rock. It was an old rock, long forgotten by those who tread near. Covered in moss and lichens, it had withstood the test of time. It spent its days content with its solitude, grounded in its security. It didn’t want for anything that mother nature couldn’t provide. It was an old soul, wise and watchful.

Once upon a time there was a car. It was a humble car, never racing or causing a fuss at stop signs and traffic lights. It whisked its owners from destination and back without asking for anything in return. It loved the feeling of its thick tires on the road, a blanket of dew on its windshield, and the heat of the afternoon sun on its hood. It was a cheerful soul, giving and playful.

Rock and Car were never meant to meet. So far apart, their worlds were separated by miles and purpose. But fate has a way of bringing the impossible into being. The strings of chance, merely a puppeteer’s magic, pulling circumstance and causality our way. And when opportunity finally ceded to fate’s siren song, Rock and Car were forever altered.

It was more than a glancing caress, more than a passing touch. Their impact shattered the quietude of dusk, the breathtaking collision sending shock waves through them both. Car’s thick tires lifted from the ground, sending tremors through its body, the sensation startling and unfamiliar. Rock’s visage, once impassive and aloof, transformed into deep grooves of connection and warmth. The two souls merged so completely only chains and pulleys could drag them apart.

But part they did. And when the time came to say goodbye, there was only a reverent silence, their gaze never wavering until the trees swallowed their sight.

Was it love or merely a transient fling? One can’t possibly say. But for a brief moment, Rock and Car had shared an impossible union, and in that flash of brilliance, life would never be the same.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

Opening Pandora: A New Beginning

Trying out a new beginning I wrote last night. What do you guys think?

I was thirteen the first time I tried to kill myself. The knife was very different from the one I currently held. I swiveled the blade, watching more lime juice soak into the maple cutting board.

I placed the freshly sliced fruit into a plastic container, grabbing another victim from the grocer’s box. I wasn’t sure what made me think of that long-ago day. It might have been the song playing over the satellite radio, speakers tumbling out the tinny tune. Could have been the fact that I’d almost severed my thumb, the dull paring knife skidding off the peel and missing my digit by a hair’s breadth.

I dropped another handful of lime garnishes into the container and eyed up my stockpile. I grabbed the box of lemons and extricated a few of the lesser bruised choices, placing them on the counter top. It was probably more likely that today was the second anniversary of my divorce.

I turned over a lemon, neatly clipped off the ends, and cut it into halves, quarters, and then eighths. I scored each section with a horizontal gash, making it easier to wedge onto the top of a glass, then dropped the pieces beside the cut limes.

The first anniversary had landed me in the hospital, a blood alcohol level five times the legal limit. I hadn’t consciously been trying to kill myself. Though, I’d never driven drunk before. The night was a bit of a blur. It involved confronting Ron, a screaming match with his current conquest, several bars, and too many shots to remember. I thought I’d been lonely in my disaster of a marriage. It’s amazing how low you can sink when there’s no distractions, and it’s just you and your thoughts.

That’s where I was eighteen years ago, hiding in that closet, rubbing the switchblade across my wrist. Lost in thought. It wasn’t like I’d had a terrible childhood. I had friends who’d had it much worse. My brain just tended toward the melancholy, and my parents were emotionally unavailable. I’d had all the creature comforts in life, but none of the love and connection to go with them. I was a piece of litter adrift in a bleak, infinite ocean. In my opinion, there hadn’t been much to live for.

I glanced at the flawless, porcelain skin of my forearm. I’d been too terrified to do it, but I had craved the silence that I knew would come with a swift, deep cut. My blood would have flowed with suppressed tears. I’d have finally gotten their attention.

I shook my head. Jesus, that was morose. I finished cutting the lemons and carried both boxes back to the walk-in fridge in the basement. I’d come a long way since my accident, and I wasn’t that sad little girl anymore. I glanced at my watch and took a deep, cleansing breath.

I had five minutes until the doors opened, six until Jake and Adam sat across from me, each seeking solace, a friendly ear, and a pint of Guinness, and thirty seconds or less until Lisa accosted me about last night. I shoved the shroud of memories back into the closet with the rest of my skeletons and found my smile. It was show time.

Avelynn 3: Could This Be The Beginning?

This scene came out of nowhere, and apparently, I had to jot it down. And… it’s in Alrik’s POV. #Interesting

Could this be the beginning of Avelynn 3?

Alrik ran his hand along the worn rail, the wood cool and wet, the mist blanketing the hull in a shroud of silence. They’d all know of his betrayal and exile. Raven’s Blood skulked like a wounded dog, her numbers greatly reduced from her altercations in Wales, though no one would be fool enough to think her crippled. At close to fifty crew, she was still formidable, but dissent and bitterness trailed the aft like a festering dung heap. Those looking would smell it a hundred knots away.

“How much longer?” Tollak leaned his hip against the steering board—the rudder as useless as the compass stone since the fog descended and they’d dropped anchor.

Alrik ran a hand through his hair. There was no splitting the veil. “Another day, perhaps?” 

At the least the sea rolled quiet. Despite the otherworldly chill, he’d gladly take fog over a tempest. He glanced around the crew. “How many?”

Tollak frowned. “At least half.”

Alrik nodded. That was to be expected. At least twenty men would stand by him, offering protection for the ship and Avelynn. It would be a good number to present to his uncle Rurik in Novgorod, if he accepted them. Only the Gods knew their fate. The rest of the men would return home to Gotland and Sweden. They owed him nothing.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

Last Sentence

Imagine you’re standing on a rooftop, and there is a crowd below waiting to hear you speak. You only have one sentence, and that will be the last words the world remembers you by. It can’t be a sentence someone else might say. It has to be your own voice. Something uniquely you. What would you say? This is my sentence. #writingexercise

 

Opening Pandora: A Prologue

 After that sexy musings blurb (see previous post) I decided to keep writing to see where it took me. The result was a prologue. I have no idea if it will stay a prologue, or if I will cut it, dissect it and mine it for gems, relocate it, or scrap it all together. Such is the uncertainty of first drafts, but I do like it. 😀 So, here for your edification, I give you the prologue to Opening Pandora a new creative vision.  <3

Prologue

I shouldn’t be here. I leaned my head against the steering wheel and closed my eyes, fisting the warm leather, knowing even as I thought it, even as I hesitated, there was no turning back. At any point during the drive, I could have turned around, but I kept going, sight fixed on the road ahead, the specters of doubt and recrimination chasing me like street racers. But they’d lost. I’d made it. Pandora’s box parked hidden within a concrete jungle of normalcy and mediocrity.

I scanned the sea of humanity, focused on staying invisible while I lifted my ass off the leather seat and slid my hands underneath my skirt. Two fingers hooked around the band of my thong, and I slid the fabric down my legs, the cool flush of exposure trailing in its wake. Part of the lace caught on the stiletto of my shoe, and I struggled to set it free, desperate to avoid drawing attention to myself. Just a random person in a car. No need to look. Nothing untoward or salacious here.

I fisted the panties and stuffed them in my purse, heart pounding. All I had to do now was open the door and step out. I gauged the distance from the parking lot to the mall entrance. Maybe twenty-five feet separated them, yet it seemed like a chasm hundreds of yards wide, each crack and chip in the pavement defined by the brilliance of a million spotlights, their beams focused, waiting.

I gripped the door handle, and a band of gold caught the sunlight. Stomach tight,. I glanced over my shoulder and slipped the ring off my finger, dropping it in the drink holder of the console. It fell without a sound. The receipt from my son’s new soccer cleats stuffed in the plastic cavern muffled the finality. I covered it all with a take-out napkin and opened the door.

Heat rose in waves off hoods and roofs, echoing the wobble of shaking legs as I stood, back to the metal. A cool breeze played with the hem of my dress, and I tugged it lower, a disconcerting dampness spreading between my legs. I craved the security a tiny strip of cotton could provide, but my instructions had been to come without underwear. I swallowed the urge to slink back into the car.

I didn’t have time for a pep talk. Those days had long past. I needed to open the box and let the world deal with the consequences. I was beyond saving. I glanced at the glass doors, watching shoppers mill in and out, oblivious to the turmoil around them.

I found a steadying breath and pushed off, taking my first tentative, tenuous step toward the man who wanted to fuck me.

Sexy Musings in the Morning

This is what happens when your muse makes you write something during the wee hours of the morning… I feel a story coming on….

“Have you ever craved desire? Not the wanting, but the feeling of being desired. Not by a lover or significant other, but by a stranger, someone who doesn’t owe you years of commitment or who doesn’t feel trapped by layers of guilt and socially acceptable notions of loyalty. Do you long to be looked at with hunger from someone you’ve never met, or perhaps from someone you’ve met only once—in the briefest of glances, the most insignificant of occurrences—but felt that spark, that pull of fate, drawing you together in a snowball’s avalanche of reckoning?

If you have, you’ll know what compelled me. You’ll understand why I did it. If you haven’t then I can only offer sympathy, for you truly haven’t lived.”

Vegan Experiment

As the Yes Woman, I’m always up for a new adventure. This time around, I’m delving into the world of plant-based eating. To help me through this bizarre terrain, I signed up for a four week transition program. One of the serious bonuses to this particular journey is having one meal a day prepared by The Copper Branch. 

Here’s a peek at some of the awesome offerings I’ve had the opportunity to sample:


This was a delicious Quinoa bowl.


A tofu scrambled sandwich (gluten free bread)


Really yummy Quinoa chilli.


Shiitake Teryaki Sandwich. So good.

For a girl who’s not terribly fond of vegetables, this has been an incredible discovery of new tastes and options.

Stay tuned for more!

In gratitude,

Marissa xo