Monday, December 24, 2007

It was dark. The creature of the night lurked among the shadows cloaking the village. One word permeated every nuance of thought. Blood! BLOOD! He must have blood. But the empty streets yielded no opportunity of fulfillment, no chance encounter to satisfy his hunger. How long had he been this way? Weeks? Months? A hundred years? His thoughts no longer retained the proper order to reflect upon these unclarities. But a feeble awareness seeped into the sea of crimson that was his single obsession. Christmas. Yes. Christmas. That is why the streets were deserted, why the hunt remained fruitless. Everyone was indoors, huddled with friends and family around a warm fire, or a table with candles and a feast, communing with one another, sharing remembrances with one another. Christmas. That was so long ago...

He continued creeping along, the blood lapping anew into his thoughts. With his acute sense of audition he perceived voices in song, a choir, a congregation of a church, no doubt. He turned towards the origin of the sound, and began to move closer. He passed as a shadow through a graveyard, some of the stones marking the final resting place of those whose blood he had taken. Of this he was scarcely aware. The church stood hulled in the thick tar of night. As he approached, it loomed ominously before him, surreal in its proportions. But he did not shy away. Where there is song, there is also blood. BLOOD! He stood before the massive door, pulling it open just a crack. He could not cross into the consecrated bounds of this sacramental location. But he waited, eyes turned downward, and listened. An organ toned the notes of a new melody, drawing a multitude of voices together into a sincere and unpresuming unison: "Silent night, holy night...." the peaceful words flowed to where he stood, and for one moment he forgot the blood.

Story #415

This photo appears by kind permission of Michael Spry. Please feel welcome to browse his flickr gallery (Mickal) and his Website (

Previous Christmas stories:
2004: #118
2005: #323
2006: #384

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Grand New Year to Everyone! I will post story #414 in the next days - still not satisfied with what I wrote - thanks to all who contributed! Contributions are welcome for this photo too, but I felt I should post first this time. You've all been so patient.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Claus had a rainbow tucked away in his attic. Of course everyone wanted to touch it. "Keep the line moving!" Claus called to his friends on the spiraling stairway. "No crowding! Everyone will get to touch the rainbow!"

But they did crowd. And teased as the line ground along, starting and stopping like traffic at Friday rush hour.

"Stop pulling my scarf!" Sally shouted at Todd. She had donned an ensemble of midnight blue, with a smattering of green and yellow accessories to catch the rainbow's eye.

"Ha! Purple is the Bow's favorite color!" Todd kidded her, "Just like I have on."

"I think he'll like me best," said Karin, pointing to her flaring orange blouse.

Sounds from above silenced the conversation. All heads turned upwards to see the flashes. It was as if someone had whipped roman candles into the Northern Lights, but even that was insufficient to describe the illumination that echoed down to them. Mysterious ohhhhhs and ahhhhhs seeped from the realm beneath the roof and careened down the stairs to the excited ears that waited, tones they had never heard before.

"How'd you ever catch it?" Maggie asked Claus who stood atop the landing, guiding the line of visitors to the final destination. "Left a window open, a dish on the table, sugar cubes dipped in paint," he confessed with a shrug, and winked, causing everyone to believe it wasn't true.

At the stairway's end stood a ladder eight feet up into a gaping hole in the ceiling. All eyes watched the lucky person whose turn it now was to ascend. That was Tim in tie dyed jeans and psychedelic t-shirt, his eyes a yin yang of hazel-green. He was a walking rainbow himself.

Everyone froze as Tim mounted the ladder. They allowed their consciousness to drift into his, to experience firsthand what would unfold. "Eyes are upon me. First rung. Second rung. Higher. Higher. Scurry through the opening into the rainbow's room. A swirling pool of fireworks floats before me. I dive into it..." The thoughts paused. "Ohhhhhhhhh. Ahhhhhhhhh" he said as the glut of colors dissolved him.

Story #414

Thanks to everyone who contributed stories!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Well sir, softball's my game. I admire the shape of a graceful gal dancin' a ball through destiny, runnin', jumpin' and slidin' like a ballet lady doin' square dance. And them postures! Like poetry writin' itself! I been goin' to these games ever Saturday since I been a young'n - before you's born, I suppose. I could tell you stories. See that pitcher down there? Reminds me a Bruna. That was afore all these gals here been born. She was a legend. A marvel in form and skill. I reckon I saw ever one a her games. The stories I could tell you bout her! I seen her hit a ball out a the park with her bare fists. That's how tough she was. And fierce! Used to play baseball. Talk was she'd killed a man in Kansas. With a home run. Ball come down a mile away and beaned him into the Great Beyond. They made her leave the state and promise never to play baseball agin but she started right back up in the next state playin' softball! Ain't nobody could hit one a her pitches no matter what size ball she throwed.

Now a gal got a reputation like that it gits talked around and Bruna's got talked clear outta the galaxy, all the way to Alpha Mango! Them critters out there loved softball. They'd watch her games via asteroid straight on into Mango. They couldn't play softball themselves, mind you. Ironic. Cause the entire planet was like one huge softball field. Red clay dust and sun shinin' gentle like a daylight moon. Well sir, they almost could a played it but their heads was too big to hold a softball cap. And was like to pop if'n a ball'd ever hit 'em. So that was out. They just watched Bruna. But you understand, watchin' games via asteroid ain't the same as bein' there. So these Mangonians, they decides they's gonna take a trip to Earth and right in the middle of a game, while no one is lookin', they's gonna girlnap Bruna, her team and the entire other team they's playing against. Then they's gonna whisk 'em off to Mango and shunt 'em around the planet playin' softball the rest a their lives - to Mangonian masters!

That's a gawd awful thing to happen to a team a fine atheletes like these gals was, but they didn't know it was gonna happen. Not until them Mangonian hyenas come ploppin' down outta the heavens like pigs what couldn't fly. They was 18 a them, one to a gal. At first everone was stunned and silent like, the way they might figurin' out a firecracker gone off in church service. Then everone a them Mangonians lunged towards a gal and there was screamin' and a runnin' and mayhem worse'n dawgs in a cat kennel. Then I saw what I guess I admire most about atheletes. They can look at a situation they done never seen before, size it up, know what they wanna git out a it, and then do what it takes to make that happen. Bruna had the ball and she precisioned up the mightiest pitch I ever seen. I wished I could a seed it in slow motion. That ball left her hand like a atom bomb out a airplane and bing'd right off a Mangonian's head. That head popped like a soap bubble and gook streamed out like butter meltin' off a hotcake. Bruna's coach was a quick thinker too and he started hurdlin' buckets a softballs out onto the field. Bruna caught one and she pitched one after the other a them balls and didn't stop 'til them Mangonians was 18 headless autopsies.

Well sir, after that the umpires come in and restored order and had 'em clean up the field and after the field was all virginned up again, set the gals back to playin'. But nothin' much else happened in that game, ceptin' that Bruna pitched another no-hitter.

Story #413

Thanks very much to Ctoner for donating this photo!

This is an hitonious video of me trying to read the story....

The joke is on me - despite this video being incredibly bad it made #92 in the category comedy - Germany (which may just be the easiest category in the world to break into). If you have a youtube account you can help put me in the top ten :-)

- Cooper has started a fantastic new site called Should Be Famous.
- Western Swing on 78 is a fantastic old-time site with lots of music to explore.
- Last and least: I finally posted Story #408.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Thank you everyone for being so patient with me while I try to get started again. I've finally commented the stories for Indeterminacy #410, which was a photograph of my muse. And I reposted all the stories at the companion blog Indeterminacies, along with links to the contributors. They really deserve their own place somewhere.

For those who don't know, Indeterminacies used to be the blog where I reposted visitor stories (when there were fewer of them, and i had more time). Feel free to browse the archives and enjoy the various perspectives arising out of a single source.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

- A stitch in time saves nine.
- Time is of the essence.
- Time is wine.
- I made that one up.
- I like the stitch saying best.
- Why?
- Because they couldn't have known.
- True.
- But as a metaphor, it comes quite close to the truth.
- Surprisingly close.
- And if anyone had realized, truly realized, they'd be here now.
- Yes they would.
- So here we are.

It wasn't often that Marcus Meticulum, while making the rounds of the time corridor, chanced upon two Oriental girls sitting before one of the temporal portals, coquetting over the nature of time. Marcus had been Oriental once, but that was a long time ago. Time, to those who'd attained awareness, was so much more than a linear chain of instances, each the cause of the next. No. Every single moment stood in relation to every other moment that ever existed, or ever would exist. These met at intangible intersections woven into the fabric of existence. But once the concept was grasped, to reconcile it with the idea that the chronological second was nothing more than an arbitrary object - that was enough to boggle a Buddhist. What could you expect, when a single second held more infinity than all the other seconds combined? The very measurement of time was a concept that only the gods could comprehend, hovering as they did, above the idea, like clouds over tumbling raindrops.

Marcus halted before the girls, sizing them up. One was elegant in style and apparel, the other had the rough-hewn glance of street-wisdom. They might have been snatched from a rush of early 21st century commuters. Snatched by sudden awareness. It went with the territory of Eastern mentality. He felt an immediate affinity towards them, but could not say why. "How did you arrive here?" he asked, bowing before them.

"You know that already," spoke Street-wise.

"I suppose I do," he answered, a gentle smile imposing itself over the puzzlement he had shown in the first moment. To comprehend was to awaken into the center of time. That is what had enabled them to pass through one of the portals.

"And now?" Elegant intimated.

"We traverse the corridor together," he concluded, not as a demand, but as a statement of the inevitable.

And so they strode along, trading sayings about that inexorable object they had all come to fathom.

- Time heals all wounds.
- Time will tell.
- Time is on our side.
- My, how times flies.
- Third time's a charm.
- Time is relative...

As they vanished around the passageway's bend, their voices faded along with the footsteps, footsteps that sounded oddly like the tickings of a clock.

Story #412

Thank you everyone who wrote stories, and for being so patient with me in posting this one.


Madeleine has a couple of interesting new sites: Limilines about a new type of creativity and The Picture Plain with really cool photography.

Live@theGrouchoClub has a story "Locked Out" appearing in the Feel the Word magazine.

The Reverend Gisher has posted a story for Indeterminacy Photo #411.

Ian at Letters Home has posted something destined to become a classic: A Desiderata For Bloggers

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Svetla always got invited to parties, especially to Halloween parties. There she sat, cute in the corner, backed by the flowered wallpaper in style those days, sketching the shapes just as cute as she on a paper she held in her lap. At midnight the squiggles slipped from the paper and slithered along the floor until sensing the warmth of a human body. They inched upwards along the human obelisk, slowly, dissolving like tattoos into the skin. Deeper they went into the blood, and soon the victims saw those very shapes floating before their field of vision, following wherever they turned.

I am a psychiatrist by profession and had treated several persons of this curious malady. All had had to be locked away in a room cushioned with mats, the sound dampened, so as to stifle screams as disturbing to us as the figures obviously were to the sufferers.

I noted the following conversation with one of my patients. She was brought to me fully subdued with the mind-stilling medicines we use. This was an opportunity to satisfy my curiosity about the phenomenon, so I began to question her. She spoke flatly, without emotion, and despite the extreme dosage, there was no relaxed smile.

Doctor: How did it all begin?
Patient: I felt a breeze upon my ankle, a transient touch, a sensation that vanished just as quickly as it was placed. I was not alarmed because the shapes appeared sweet somehow.
Doctor: What happened next?
Patient: They flirted with my skin. Their touch was like warm vapor blown onto a single circle of flesh. I wanted them to continue. It was a new sensation, one that the touch of a hand or a tongue's caress could never create.
Doctor: What made it so?
Patient: The touch pulsated ever deeper into the skin, first the surface, then to the buried nerves, then to the surface again.
Doctor: How long did this continue?
Patient: Not long. I don't know. At last it submerged into me. Strange, I felt the substance of it expanding into my veins, and squirming upwards towards my brain like mindless bits of larvae.
Doctor: What did you feel as it moved closer to your brain?
Patient: It was like a prelude. I knew not of what. But something would happen when it reached my consciousness. It might be wonderful -- or unspeakably horrid. I did not know.
Doctor: This foreboding, can you describe it?

She shrieked this suddenly, and stood up, taking violent swipes at the empty air before her, a surprising reaction under such sturdy sedation. Finally after about ten minutes I could calm her. She sat down once more, and her emotionless voice resumed.

Doctor: Please continue.
Patient: I cannot go on. They are not sweet anymore.

This was not an easy condition to treat, but after weeks of therapy I finally reached my patients, worked my way into their dreadful fantasies and pulled them out dripping as from a fall into the dead waters of a stagnant lake. Soon after, I could convince them that the figures were harmless. In time the patients could safely return to the perils and stresses of actual life. The special rooms and straitjackets were no longer needed for them.

That was my occupation during the day. But I also had a personal life. On occasion my path led again to one of my former trusts. On a Halloween night of new moon darkness I saw her glance up from where she sat, surveying us, the evening's celebrants, as we stood side-by-side chatting in arbitrary cliques. Most were in rapture from the drink, the company and the mood of the night, but I was also one to observe. I stared at her a moment too long. She noticed and as our eyes met for that one sacreligious second her soft features hardened into severity. The others felt it unconsciously. All around, the conversation coagulated into silence. At that she returned to her task, sketching the figures she had seen. Something inside me began to shudder.

Story #411

Anyone who would like to contribute their own terrifying inspiration to the above photo is very welcome to do so! Thanks everyone for being so patient with me during my absense, and most of all, thanks for coming back.

Past Halloween stories:
2006: #378
2005: #301
2004: #64

Things to do:
1) answer my e-mails of the last weeks
2) answer all your comments
3) write a story to photo 408
4) read and comment the stories to 408
5) read all your blogs

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thank You

Once again I say thank you for all the stories and get well wishes for my wife. She is home now finally. The last weeks were very difficult - and I was sick last week with a severe cold, not unlikely due to the stress of the weeks before. This week and next I'm off work on vacation. Already after the days of this week our lives seem to be returning to normal. My wife has to take it easy in the next months, but has enjoyed a recovery seemingly against all the odds. We have so much to be thankful for.

I feel able to write again, and will start soon, posting the missing story for photo 408.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Muse.

Story #410

Thank you for all the wishes and stories to the above photo. The stories have been reposted at the long dormant companion blog Indeterminacies.

The photo was taken in Trier in the ruins of the Roman baths, passages that were excavated in 1962.

At Shitkl you can see a video of my son reading some Shtikl cartoons - really sweet because most of the time he will only speak German - and here he is reading English with almost no practice at all.

Also, I have a guest post, written about a month ago, at Mindful Mimi's.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Unfortunately I have bad news to share. My wife was in a car accident today. She is in the hospital under observation. They haven't found anything seriously wrong and she should be home in a few days. Our son was in the car also but not hurt. I will have to postpone writing for now.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

About Creativity

Over the course of the years, and based mostly on my experience with the Indeterminacy blog I have developed several ideas about creativity and the creative process. At the very least, they seem to apply to me. This is what I've learned...

1) When you have an idea or inspiration, act on it immediately. Act on it five minutes later, and it will already be too late. Once I find my inspiration, the process of writing the rough draft goes rather quickly. But if I wait, the flair seems to go out of it. Photos have been a wonderful catalyst for immediate inspirations, usually some devious idea that I want to follow through to the end. However the more I do this, the more difficult it becomes to find a photo that stands out in ways that others before it have not. The first 100 or so stories went fairly well in this respect. Examples where the photo delivered strange and powerful associations might be Story #6 and Story #23.

2) Spontaneity plus afterthought is a powerful combination. On rare occasions a story will come out perfect the first time. Of all my stories, there were only a handful that were completely spontaneous. One example is Story #30 written in just about the amount of time it takes to read it. I didn't change one word of how it came out.

But usually, the result needs a little twisting and tweaking to add dimensions that bring it past the ordinary and into the extraordinary. During the period that I posted daily I would write the story on the train home from work (I carried a few potential images around in my head to ponder over during free moments) or at home in the late afternoon or early evening. The next morning I'd take the rough draft with me in the train, read through it again and again, fine tune and polish until I thought it was ready to post. At lunch I'd type in my edits and post. Most of the time my edits made something that I thought was boring into something that I was satisified with.

Story #19 was actually a complete rewrite of the original draft (which you can read in the comment section). Story #385 was one in which the initial version was written rather quickly, but which I polished quite a bit afterwards. The sequence with the "99 Bottles" song was something I put in quite late, as an afterthought.

3) If you write something good, it will seem better to other people than it will to you. You know what is coming, the others don't. They have the pleasure of watching something unknown unfold before them for the first time, whereas you can only read and wonder, will it work the way you intend it to. This is my conclusion from the positive comments I received about stories that to me were fairly ordinary. It's the only way I could explain it. Also I've read stories, posts, etc. by others and been truly impressed, whereas they in turn seemed surprised. I thought my Story #43 was rather simple, but I got some nice feedback from some people I showed it to.

4) If you are true to your art, the process of creating will become more and more difficult, the more you have created. I do not want to write the same stories over and over again, so I find myself discarding ideas because the intended story is too similar to something else I've written before, or is too similar to something I've read elsewhere. I want to create something completely new, but of course I'm aware that this is extremely difficult to do - some claim it's impossible.

To avoid repeating myself, I've allowed the stories to become more and more extravagant. In the beginning my ideal was the one paragraph short story. The first stories were probably more like synopses for what could later be written out in more detail. There was little or no dialogue, just densely packed plot description. Two earlier stories that broke out of this mold were Story #81 and Story #158.

A few other stories were new in the sense that I hadn't read anything like them before, not to say that something similar hasn't already been written and I just didn't know about it: Story #128 (Adam and Evelyn), Story #204 (Solomonic Wisdom) and Story #327 (Extreme Poetic Justice). In any event I strive to be original to the best of my knowledge.

5) Spontaneous creativity vs. planned creativity. Which is better? This could depend on the person. Or maybe it's a matter of taste. I think in general, a spontaneous basis for creativity will win out. In the stories beyond #200 and up to #360, when I stopped posting daily, I found myself having to stay up later and later to find the right idea. The best stories, I think, were written when I was very tired, and unable to reason clearly. Story #377 and Story #359 came into existence when I was half asleep and hardly knew what I was writing.

6) Read great works and allow yourself to be inspired by them. In other words, if you reach for the stars you may not reach them, but you'll reach higher than you might otherwise have been able to. For example, when I was in high school and college I used to read Stephen King. Somehow I got tired of him, but now, in that genre, authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Gustav Meyrink are my idols.

7) If you get stuck, take a break, watch a TV show, do something else, and then return to finish the writing. Many of my stories were written in two parts. I wrote a beginning, got stuck, watched a Dark Shadows episode, then went back to write the conclusion. One of my non-Indeterminacy stories, "A Fairytale for Elves and Clouds" was written over the period of several weeks. I wrote the first two paragraphs, got stuck, then came back later with a sudden idea of how it should continue. I think the break forces one out of the rut one might have been in, and allows a return with a fresh, completely unrelated idea.


I've probably learned more, but this was all I could put down on one Sunday afternoon. For the interested reader, I point out two pieces I've posted with advice about writing / blogging out of the mouths of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mark Twain.

Note: My muse has published her own statement about blogging, indepedent of this one, and I really like what she wrote. It's called "I am not a good blogger"

Note 2: Viruswitch has posted a piece "Write in concepts or write in pictures?" and Shtikl writes "You don’t need a plan, you need skills and a problem" - both posts have bearing on the creative process.

Now I remind myself that I still owe you Story #408. It seems I do put myself under pressure to write something that is better and different than anything I've written before. Wish me luck.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kate looked into the mirror, but the face looking back was not hers. It was one she had ever seen before. As she stared it woke out of a reverie like a match igniting. Then came a nasty grin.

"Not what you expected, is it?" the voice of the face lashed out at her.

"It's impossible! You can't be there! You have to be me!" Kate answered spontaneously. Of course the statement changed nothing. The face continued not to be Kate's.

"I got tired of being you, so I became me!" the face answered, and folded arms asynchronously to Kate's, which hung limply, in stunned immobility.

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall?" Kate tried in desperation.

"Nah, that won't work. I'm prettiest. Men will smash themselves on the glass trying to get to me. You can sweep up the mess though, deary" - the visage grinned meanly.

"This is turning really weird," Kate thought to herself. Out loud she spoke to the mirror: "Wait a moment, please." She stood up, left the room, returned with a cloth and some window cleaner which she sprayed straight onto the face.

"I'm melting!" the voice screamed as Kate wiped the reflective surface. As the thin film of water evaporated Kate saw her own face again, smiling back at her, eyes blinking at just the right moments.

Story #409

Coming next: an introspective post about the experience of writing these stories over the years. I've been putting that off since story #360, which I had intended as the final story.

Thank you everyone who contributed a story for this and for the last photo (#408). I'll also post my #408 story sometime this week - but it's not written yet - and then read and comment all of the contributions.

Mindful Mimi is a new blog that linked to Indeterminacy during vacation. I found her posts to be thought provoking and nice to read. She has a contest going which you can participate in. The prize is a copy of "A short history of tractors in Ukrainian" by Marina Lewycka. It's supposed to be a wonderfully funny book. I've read the reviews.

Important message:Madeleine left a comment about a new literary magazine she is involved with which is looking for submissions. For more information please read the post from August 20th at

Other Extremely Important Breaking News: Shtikl is back!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Marla was a girl, but she was also a seed. She had limbs, hair that tossled and flowed, and all the anatomy that boys found so tantalizing. Yet she was also a seed, body enclosed in a bulbous capsule, room only to stand and to sit and to walk in a circle. It was snug. She had a peephole to look through, to watch for the rain or the germinating dew. Thin strands grew from her, thicker than hair, but slight - they pushed their way through the skin of the capsule, bursting it in places - they shot outwards where the sun was known to while. Their one thought was to hurdle into the sky and wrap their tentacles around the warmth of that illuminative body. But their attention was diverted by the boy lying in the meadow, watching the spot in the earth where the plant suddenly appeared. He emanated warmth, as well. The stem advanced, leaves unfolding, and bud appearing at the end of the stilt-like extension which grew at a visible pace. The bud swelled and burst with petals, and in the center of those petals was an eye that sought the depths of his brain.

Story #408

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thoughtful Blogger Award

Originated by Christy at Writer's Reviews:

For those who answer blog comments, emails, and make their visitors feel at home on their blogs. For the people who take others feelings into consideration before speaking out and who are kind and courteous. Also for all of those bloggers who spend so much of their time helping others bloggers design, improve, and fix their sites. This award is for those generous bloggers who think of others.

Seiche was kind enough to award me the Thoughtful Blogger Award, as I've mentioned previously. I can think of enough instances of thoughtlessness to disqualify myself, and I hate memes, unless they're for a good cause, like this one. So here goes...

1) The most thoughtful blogger I know is The Lady at Not Quite Love and Light. You might notice that this blog is fairly new, but The Lady has blogged before, and is the first person to find my blog on her own in its first days, and to encourage, advise and support me in ways too numerous to list. She made me feel at home at my own blog, as well as at hers. The sense of community and sharing at her own site was a shining example to me, and it is she who made the one suggestion for Indeterminacy that so many people tell me they like the most: the open participation. For The Lady, the Thoughtful Blogger Award needs to be the size of a movie marquis.

2) Santiago Nemec of Mundo en Llamas is a blogger I don't know very well yet, but I saw a beautiful comment he left at a blog I adore, a comment that struck me for its thoughtfulness and personability. Santiago is from Argentina, and his site is primarily in Spanish and Engish. I hope to get to know him better in the future.

The Big Three of Creative Blogging: Doug, Mrs. Weirsdo, and Tom (& Icy):

3) Doug has to be the master of building community and making his visitors feel at home. Just look at any one of his posts to see an example of this. Additionally Doug has taken a lot of time to help me with feedback and advice on a number of issues, not all of them blog related, so I say he's a thoughtful blogger.

4) About Mrs. Weirsdo I can say pretty much the same. She's created a blog which is homey and gemütlich all in one, a very pleasant place to visit and stop a while. There used to be some rather thoughtless characters there like Pansi and all her friends, but Mrs. Weirsdo has shipped them off to other bloggers, and now it's even more thoughtful than ever.

5) Tom is a master of putting other people in the spotlight, as you can tell by some of his various blogs, which create something of a meta-universe:
Icy's Playground
Asinine News
Asinine News 2

It's not unusual to find oneself making a cameo appearance in one of his posts. In addition Tom has given me and others valuable advice and feedback about blogging, and as a graphics guru has gone to the trouble of creating icons for all of us. Icy is thoughtful, too.

6) Cooper is another blogger who has done an impeccable job first of all, of posting thought provoking content, and second, of serving as the moderator of the discussion that invariably follows. She takes time to draw attention to other interesting posts she has seen, and has always been there for me with valuable advice on issues I couldn't decide for myself.

7) I've known Mushroom since I began blogging but for a long time he didn't blog, so it's hard to call him a thoughtful blogger. But has been extremely thoughtful and helpful with just about any technical issue I've had. His site, where he does monthly posts of found photos along with his own captions is Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul.

I think I'm only suppose to do five - so I should stop now, but when I think about it, I only seem to know thoughtful bloggers, so where do I stop mentioning them. Just click any one link in my blogroll and the chances are you will find yourself visiting a thoughtful blogger.

Here are the rules, if you'd like to repeat this meme yourself:

1) If you have received an award simply choose either the dark or light background image and save it to your files, then post it proudly on your blog!

2) Pass the award on to five other people, you can choose any of the awards from the series, you do not have to pass out the exact award you received. Choose whichever of the awards below that you'd like to give out. You can give out one of each or five of the same one, whatever you prefer.

3) You can change the size and color of awards to suit your blog, that's up to you, it's your blog, just leave the titles the same.

4) Please link back to this post so that people can read these rules and so that the meanings of the awards will not be lost.

5) If you feel that you or a friend are deserving of an award and no one has given one to you yet then email me at sayhitochristy(at) and tell me about your website.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It was destined to become an urban legend. Maybe it was the matter-of-fact way the two girls invariably crashed even the most secretly held parties, barged their way to the kitchen, where they sliced themselves one piece of cake each, and then, instead of nibbling the tasty dessert, proceeded to rub their faces in it. Afterwards they fled, leaving a fog of bemusement behind. The continued evening of wine and what remained of the cake resulted in the wildest speculations as to what this all could have been about. A Duncan-Heinz publicity stunt? An over-baked post hypnotic suggestion? Last survivors of a flash mob decimated by starvation? The new cult of Marie Antoinette? Some suggested they must be possessed by demons not diabolic but diabetic.

No one knew.

In a related incident which was never connected with the relevant pre-occurring event, an officer in a top secret military installation tested the new satellite night-vision zoom technique. He watched mystified as two ladies in the new moon darkness of a park tenderly licked cake from each other's face.

Story #407

Thanks for the stories! And of course more are welcome! Anyone landing here is invited to leave a story, caption or impressions as a comment...

Postscript: Some random surfing led me to this extremely delicious photo by Donavan

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Interlude - Thoughtfulness - Great Blogs

I've finally posted story #406 (post below this one).

Seich has honored me with the Thoughtful Blogger award. I'll work out a post for that in the next days. So stay tuned...

A couple of weeks ago I went through all my comments, and searched in technorati for all the new links, and compiled a list of blogs which I want to stop by and get to know and to incorporate into my links. I wonder how, though, as there are more then 150 urls in that list. But over the last weeks I've noted a few of them, and wanted to mention a few here:

1) My Pseudobackpack
"One Blog. Five Restless Souls. Countless Adventures"

This is a blog by five lovely ladies who just finished grad school and are now traveling the world independently of each other, but using the blog as their meeting point to share with each other and with us. They hope to reunite in some remote island paradise in one year's time, but I am hoping I can convince them to do it Hamburg instead. The concept of the blog grabbed me right away - I think it's turning out very nice.

2) Half Dentist
"Stan Johns' Fictional Blog"

It's a fictional blog about a fictional UK dentist called Stan Johns - probably the name is made up too. The blog follows the adventures of Stan himself, Bessy (his dog), Cookie (his nurse), his friend Felix, his 60ish receptionist George, and the wife Margaret. What the writing lacks in non-fiction it makes up in wit, humor and hilarity. Maybe this is the ghost of Jerome K. Jerome blogging?

3) Madeleine in the Shade

This site has some incredible writing, a style that is intricate, intelligent and compelling. You will find prose and poetry, cultural reviews and some photography - a creative scrapbook. Madeline herself is very mysterious - she has not written much about herself, except that she is in Prague (for the moment) and is a teacher/screenwriter. I suspect she may be a professor of film and have written classic film that we've all seen. Her review of the Czech film "Sedmikrásky" especially impressed me - it went beyond anything I'd ever read about the film (one of my favorites).

4) Lorena's Blogbilingue
"Two languages, two cultures, the door opens. Dos idiomas, dos culturas, la puerta se abre"

This fantastic site features bilingual posts (English and Spanish), short stories with a wonderful fairy-tale like quality about them, poetry, observations, and occasional photography. I haven't explored everything yet but her story about the moon A Story / Un Cuento and her post Faces in the Stones are good starting points.

5) Things Look Like Things
"Blogs and photos as fable, fairytale, fiction and fact."

What can I say about this site except that I'm waiting for God to start commenting here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Exhausted she lay on the bed, eyes pried wide with fear, her thoughts like waves of tempestuous ocean. She thought what would happen if they caught her. The violin sensed her dread and began to hum the chords of a Brahmsian lullaby, counteracting the turmoil that held her awake. Her eyes flickered shut as she slipped into a troubled dream of what had transpired...

She saw herself scurry up the tree, the violin secure in a small knapsack strapped to her back. There was just enough time to conceal herself in the branches before they came.

"She went this way."
"Follow the tracks -- Over here!"
"There she is! In the tree"
"Bring the ladder."

They'd have her down soon - she knew that, so she removed the violin and started to play, that melody without words, the melody that coaxed primal peace out of the depth of feeling. And it worked. Those who would destroy her talent stood like totem poles that had accidentally touched heaven. Hate, rage and the will to destroy became an altruistic love for one's fellow creatures. She sprang from the tree and vanished quickly into the brush. But their rapture would soon dissolve and the next time they caught her they might be wearing ear plugs.

She awoke on the bed of the motel room, the violin beside her. Men's voices penetrated the glass of the closed window. They had found her, and this time she was cornered. They would smash the violin, she knew. And she would be next. Why did the desire to hate perpetuate itself so savagely? But that's how it was. Not everyone welcomed the affects of her music, but she could at least stand for the principle. She decided to face them. She arose, opened the door and confronted faces hardened by the hours of pursuit and the lust for destruction. The burliest and roughest looking of the men stepped forward and spoke, moisture welling into a tear drop at the corner of one eye. "We'd like an encore," he sniffed.

Story #406

THanks to all who contributed! I'll answer leave my comments later tonight! So many stories to read and soak in! It's the part I like best.

Note: I've been having trouble with my spam filter - lately I've found several non-spams marked as spam. If you've written to me and I haven't answered, it could be I never got the message. I'm checking carefully now, but I can't help feeling that some mails got lost.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ten year old Max was cleverer than Swatches in a cuckoo clock. He tackled IQ tests in ten minutes flat, obtaining perfect scores with one hand while beating the last level on his Nintendo DS with the other. He was so clever there was really no way to tell how clever he was, because no one had ever seen the likes of it before. So they gave up trying. "I want to invent things," the wunderkind stated one day out of the blue.

"He's clever," they said, "Give him everything he wants." And so they gave him a laboratory. It took him twenty minutes to work out the principle of time travel and prove it with a device that could transcend linear chronology.

"Wow!" everyone exclaimed.

The principle was simple: a perpetual motion energy field influenced by variably poled magnets.

"Aha," everyone said, quite confusedly, "But It's cute how he built it in the form of a 1920's Buick."

From his first journey in the years he brought back two of his future, older selves, one 15, the other 25. He dressed them up like Chicago gangsters to match the car.

"How sweet," everyone commented, "let him do it!"

He also set his future selves to work, each building a new time contraption and journeying off to snatch back further twins from the timeline who in turn began the process all over again.

"Ohhhhh, ahhhhhh," everyone noted with astonishment, "it's exponential."

By now there were hundreds of thousands of Maxes, each a unique instance from some point in time, population doubling and trebling by the moment.

"Hey," everyone noted with sudden consternation, "maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all."

But it was too late. Max opened up a dead end milliminute in a skipped chronological beat and transfered every man woman and child that wasn't him smack dab into the middle of it.

"Hey," they all nodded, "this looks very much like a cornfield."

But it was the beginning of the end. The youngest Max hadn't yet discovered girls, and as his elder versions explained them to him, it flustered him so, that he lost all his cleverness. Soon the Maxes were little more than a lonely, lustful mob with no place to go. They floundered around a few decades, lamenting the loss of ladies, then vanished into the timeless stasis of extinction.

Story #405

Friday, July 13, 2007

Carrie and Carl played volleyball at the lake, bopping the ball back and forth. The sun wanted to play too so in a twinkling of an instant blew a diversionary cloud of dust. The couple blinked, not noticing the momentary flash as the sun switched places with the ball. They continued their ritual of fun, slapping the solar disk form hand to hand until it was time for the sun to go down and the two to go home. They stopped, smiling at the incognito sphere, holding it between them.

"How did you know?" the sun asked.

"The tan," Carl answered.

"Yeah," Carrie continued, "our palms have a nice brown tan after playing with you."

"So what happens now?" the sun asked.

"We put you back," Carrie stated matter-of-factly.

"I'm afraid we'll have to," Carl went on, "we have plans tonight, and it rather involved it being dark."

So Carrie and Carl placed the glowing orb back onto the horizon. The night was one they never forgot. The horizon they'd chosen was the one in the East.

Story #404

Thanks for all the stories! I've finally commented them!

I'm off the front page of now so traffic has dropped down a bit. It's been a very rewarding time for me, as I've met so many new and interesting bloggers - which in itself has been a great source of inspiration to me. Most of all, so many of you have shared your creativity in producing these fantastic mosaics around the photos I've posted. I hope that you will all keep coming back, in spite of my strange stories. German untranslateables of the day: schräg and skurril.

Let's play another round of Russian roulette with some of the bloggers, artists and musicians I like. Take your click:

[eins] [zwei] [drei] [vier] [fünf] [sechs]

Sunday, July 08, 2007

It looked like a simple washing machine but in reality it was a transdimensional anti-phase fabric interpolator. For the less technically inclined, this means you turn it on, add soap, and clean clothes appear out of nowhere. Nowhere in this case is an identical palimpsest of our dimension, with the exception that clothes on that side are constantly disappearing - the way umbrellas do in our dimension. Bob got a shock one day when he reached into the machine to retrieve his new wardrobe. He selected a fresh pair of dress Levi's, but as he pulled on the leg a door on the other side of the machine opened and there was his completely naked parallel twin, pulling on the other leg, refusing to let go.

Story #403

Thanks everyone for all the stories! I've finally commented them and will now concentrate on the story for #404. Anyone still wishing to write their own story to the above photo, please feel welcome to do so!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Balloon: Which came first, the girl or the balloon?

Girl: I came first, and none too soon.

Balloon: You were a wish that I created!

Girl: You are a thing that I inflated!

Balloon: But I can float to outer space!

Girl: With a few quick squiggles I drew your face!

Balloon: I can prove that it was I.

Girl: Whatever you prove will be a lie. But please, let's hear you certify...

Balloon: It was like this: One day, floating along the shore, I spied a boy alone on his towel wishing for a girl. Since wishing for girls is what boys do best and since issuing wishes is my finesse, I hovered to the boy and presented him his complementary wish. Well, of course he wished for you! I dipped into the sea, patted some jellyfish together, added some seaweed for hair, some salt for preservation. And there you were! End of conversation.

Girl: Jellyfish!? Seaweed!? Salt!? My softness and huggability have nothing to do with jelly! And my hair is perfectly the opposite of algae! And last and never least, I am sweet, not salty! Your ravings are nonsense times triple and double - you're but a stick of gum I chewed and blew into a bubble!

Story #402

Note: Today's found photo is a self-portrait by Jenny, an Austrian photographer with galleries at where you'll find many sensitive images of femininity and an Alice in Wonderland kind of charm. Stop by and tell her what you think of her photography! And thanks Jenny, for your kind permission to repost this lovely photo.

You're invited to post your own spontaneous stories, captions or impressions to this photo here in the comments section. Sunday morning I will post a new photo for stories.

Second Note: The form of this story was inspired by Doug's delightful audio post "The Bath" at Waking Ambrose. I listened to that and had to start rhyming things.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The crack squad of philosophers paused after a violent dispute with the enemy. They'd discussed the meaning of life and war, but no one could agree to die. So they withdrew in a stalemate and waited while their sergeant consulted the magic 8 ball. "Does war have a meaning?" he asked. "Maybe" the 8 ball said. The sergeant tossed the black sphere wide into the air. It landed in a ditch some hundred yards away, exploding in a cloud of inconsequence and colored confetti. The philosopher-soldiers rested cross-legged on the ground, waiting for abstract orders. None came, but the enemy marched forwards now, carrying a banner bearing the large letters and digits: "Error 401"

"Now what does that mean?" one of the soldier-thinkers asked the soldier-thinker next to him.

"Damn! Why did you interrupt me?" the soldier-thinker answered, "I almost had what war meant!"

"It's all making nonsense to me too!"

They watched as the banner bobbed in nearer to their position. The enemy soldiers halted and bowed slightly in a show of respect, then brought out the t-shirts they were selling, complete with date and time of the battle ironed on in red, white and blue, a wonderful souvenir to take home to the family. And that was the revelation they'd waited for: There's no place like home, especially during a war. Now they could all go home and celebrate Independence Day.

Story #401

Happy Fourth of July! And thanks for all the stories you guys posted. I'll comment on them tomorrow. Ready to sleep now.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Photo by Myca Angel

At first I did not know where I was or what had happened. Everything was a dull blur, and the throbbing in my head made it difficult to concentrate. But the feeling faded and my senses began to differentiate themselves. I lay sprawled on the stone floor of a subterranean chamber. The water flowing down one of the walls caused a steady tinkling sound, not deafening, but loud enough to mask the ambient stillness. Last of all I noticed the light, the steady fluorescent glow of the blue rocks forming the walls around the spot I lay. It was a dead light, with none of the warmth of the sun, but nevertheless the temperature was comfortable.

In a flash the events of the last days passed before me: Exploring the cave. The mishap. Tripping and sliding down the incline. Losing my way. The flashlight giving out. Inching along in darkness until the blue illumination appeared in the distance. I might be miles below the Earth's surface, had no idea of how to return.

I heard the sound of bare feet splashing through the puddles where the water had paused on its way to the center of the Earth. I saw the feet, the legs and body of a stunning feminine creature. Her skin caught the glow of the rocks and reflected a sheen of pale emerald. She stood near the streaming water, collecting drops and rivulets upon her hair and shoulders. The splashes clothed her flesh in a costume of glistening wetness. I studied her in my prone position, too weak to rise, though I felt an intense desire to embrace her.

All the while her eyes never met mine. She might have been oblivious to my presence, the way she held her head in shy aversion while continuing to bask in the falling water - a sight I could not turn away from.

She revolved slowly under the gentle cascade, revealing every aspect of her physical form, ended facing me again. The deep blue of her hair, the green shimmer of skin and the pale red of her lips combined into beauty I'd never seen before. She took notice of me as I thought this, and began her approach with measured steps and motions. I wanted to rise to meet her, but still I could not. Soon she knelt beside me, placed her moist hands upon my shoulders, and bent intimately close. I thrilled at feeling her wet hair touch my skin. I felt her tongue exploring my neck, felt how soft her lips were and then the pressure of two sharp fangs as they painlessly slipped through parting skin. As she drew my blood into her mouth, the sensation was one of dizzy ecstasy, that wound the center of my entire awareness. Unable to contain the pleasure I began to moan and turn from side to side, and she continued to drink from me.

I became numb with pleasure. My vision began to cloud. I saw her rise from me, her lips much redder than they had been before. She backed away with those same measured motions that had carried her to me. But this time her eyes were fixed upon mine, in her expression a mixture of sadness and desire. As she backed into the dripping water she inclined her head shyly, invitingly. Then my head began to throb and my senses succumbed to darkness.

Story #400

Four hundred is a special number, and deserved a special photo. This photo appeared by very kind permission of Myca Angel. Myca is a hobby photographer and extremely photogenic young lady from Chile. You may enjoy her photography, and her poetic writing (in Spanish) at two Webpages: [Myca Angel] and [Siko My].

Possibly this story might be taken as a sequel to another story written to a photo by Myca - but it wasn't intentional. This only occurred to me afterward.

Thanks to everyone who contributed their creativity here!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pleasure cruises, those rendezvous of the young, rich and beautiful were extremely expensive, so there the cruisers all were, dancing on the deck, ladies and men mingling and lingering with the one they had found among the waiting willing. As Gerry and Yvonne meshed into each other's arms it was like two electromagnetic surfaces pressing together. They danced in oblivion of the others, of the ship and the waves it hurdled through. The beat of the new-found partner was all that mattered.

Captain Rogers viewed from above with deep satisfaction. Half of the couples would begin a new time together, a seed sprouting into the fascinated intertwinings that initial attraction enjoyed. For some this would last a lifetime, others, merely a night, after which they'd return to the deck for the next dance. The captain was satisfied with his contribution to society, and proud that he had made the experience affordable. All the feeling of a Caribbean cruise and none of the expense, by building the open air ship's deck right next to the downtown.

Story #399

German word of the day: mittelprächtig (see above). Thanks to everyone who contributed a story/caption!

Now let's play a game of Russian Roulette. Six cool bloggers:

[one], [two], [three], [four], [five], [six]

Take your click...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Between missions Agent Double D'Lemon dined at the Golden Dragon to receive his new instructions. He was the organization's most dedicated employee. The orders, as always, would be passed to him via fortune cookie. The last message "You will climb high mountains" directed him to a breathtaking deployment in the Himalayas, where he single handedly defeated a gang of goat rustlers. "An enemy will succumb to your persuasiveness" had been a coded order to arrest the dangerous Doktor Mabuse, a fictional character best described as an evil German incarnation of Professor Moriarty. That task had proven itself immensely difficult.

Now D'Lemon finished the final bite of nasi goring and awaited his instructions. Waiter Chang lay a plate with the cookie before him. But the Golden Dragon had a new kitchen boy, and he in turn had a sweet tooth. At a sudden impulse the boy had devoured a plateful of cookies meant for the guests, including the one for D'Lemon. Double D'Lemon broke the two halves of the wrong cookie away and read "You will discover happiness with a dark haired stranger." As he left the restaurant he scanned the faces. There she was: dark hair, dark eyes and stunning midnight complexion. He smiled. She winked. They talked. He lingered. They married. And lived happily ever after until the day they died. Mission accomplished.

Afterword: The message in the original fortune cookie, "The Aliens are among us," was a false alarm. The Aliens had been among us, but they took one look at "The Synchronicity of Indeterminacy" and left.

Story #398

Thanks everyone for making this a great round! More stories are welcome, of course! My comments and the next photo will be posted in a few hours...

If you can read Polish, check out this great translation of Story 396 by Joanna "Rotten" Banana

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Since the invention of the bubble combustion motor or the Bucomo, as it was affectionately known, oil was no longer needed - except for sensual massages. Cars now ran on dish soap. All the world's problems were solved and even pollution became a fun event. The occasional soap tanker that floundered off the coast led to wonderful spills of bubbly suds, all of it pH neutral. The lemon-flavored beachside air drew crowds eager for fun and cleanliness. Saline bubbles floated back and forth, volleyed by carefree frolickers while bikini-clad beauties, legs sunning in suds, enjoyed the peace of sand and detergent. Often a boyfriend or hubby trotted back from the seashore to his freshly bathed girl, sparkling dishes hugged in his arms.

Story #397

Thanks to everyone who wrote their own story/caption to the above photo. More are welcome. I'll comment them tonight, and post the next photo too.

Special note: Today is Roachz's birthday! So go wish her a happy birthday - and while you're at it, read her wonderful blog!

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'd heard they were a mixed couple, but that didn't bother me. I always try to keep an open mind. I knocked. He opened, and there was that fleshy smile of his - and those eyes that followed wherever one went. It unsettled me. He stood beaming and beaconing me to enter. I did.

"She's in the library," he explained, "reading the Kamasutra."

I followed him into the library. There she waited, a wooden monument next to his random build. Cedar she was - I could tell by the scent - or perhaps just the limbs were of cedar. I suspected a torso of oak, the noblest of woods. As I looked upon her we shared a meaningful glance. Her steady gaze put me at ease, for I did have slight inhibitions about the visit, considering their relationship.

"Did you bring the tools?" he inquired, expecting, perhaps, that I might have forgotten.

"They're in my case," I told him. "But could I ask you to leave the room while I work?" I knew it wasn't ethical in my profession, but I wanted to be alone with her.

"Is that necessary?" He seemed surprised. "After all, I am paying you for your services. I had thought to watch."

"All right," I acquiesced, but his continued presence was a source of unease.

We carried her to the bed. She was heavier than I had imagined, for her petite design.

"I'll remove her clothes for you, if you wish," he offered.

"No," I told him, "I'll continue from here."

I undid the clasps and zippers of the ankle-length dress covering her shapely form. But as I slid the article away I saw how blemished and raw the wood beneath had become. Secretly, I wondered what he had done with her to get her like that - I could tell she had been a careful work of art when first she was made. Wood should never be treated with neglect!

I activated the power sander and set to work. Sawdust sprayed from her midriff as I smoothed the roughened area. When I was finished I ran my palm across the midsection. How warm the wooden skin felt after the sanding! With a chisel I accentuated the navel, then I turned my attention to the remaining anatomy, sanded arms, legs and the artfully carved back. Soon the surfaces were restored, and the grain of her skin seemed to glow in the dim bedroom light.

I studied her intensely to see what work remained. There were still the erogenous areas to complete. The breasts I would have to do by hand - they might be ruined otherwise. So I selected the finest grain of sandpaper I had and began, slowly and steadily, to rub. It would take a few hours, but my hands and arms were firm and I was confident of their endurance. All the while I massaged those oaken orbs our gazes were locked and her smile never changed. And as I finished the delicate work below the waist I could tell she was completely satisfied. Then I was done.

I was sorry that my visit must finally end. But I had attended to the job conscientiously and well. She was a masterpiece to behold, as I was certain she had been the day she was created. We dressed her and returned her to the library.

"You may go now," he said, "I'll call you again if I need you."

As I left I could feel his roving eyes upon me, observing me with the condescension that creatures of flesh reserved for us beings of wood.

Story #396

(Read this story in Polish - translation by Joanna.

Note: Thanks everyone who contributed their own story to the above photo - more are welcome! Just leave a mini-story, caption or other impressions in the comments section. Tuesday night, NY time, I'll post a new found photo for a further set of stories.

P.S. I was tempted to caption this "Behind every good man there stands a woman." :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Grego had a dream: mad, daring, passionate love with fifteen ladies at once. He had a plan too: download the latest pre-release fileshared Brad Pitt film and present it to the ladies on his wide-screen plasma TV. The ladies were seated in his makeshift theater, breathless in anticipation. Their eager eyes seemed to press the screen flat onto the wall. As their gorgeous masculine heartthrob appeared, salivary glands performed marvels to please a Pavlov. One could sense the building of erotic tension. Grego saw. Then he switched in the subliminal soundtrack he'd recorded himself in his rather shy and squeaky voice to bombard the feminine psyches with indecent salaciousness. But contrary to Grego's expectations, the ladies dropped into an immediate and impenetrable slumber. Grego, it seems, was an incredible bore, even subliminally, but when the ladies awoke, they recalled with a creepy shudder that the movie had been about him.

Story #395

Thanks to all who contributed a story! I'll comment on them tonight when I'm home from work. The next photo will be posted in a few hours.

P.S. Here's a cool photo-story one of my blogging friends put together using a series of photos I took recently. (I mentioned this already, but those who haven't seen it - it's really funny.)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

His heaven was formed entirely out of plastic. He poured the substance from an oil can, molded and patted the molten mass, until it hardened into diffuseness the color of fleece. He stood back and saw that it was good. Then he exhaled shadows and light which flew over the surface in a kaleidoscopic dance, raging and flowing like seas at high tide. When he cast his stare towards the finite walls of his holy realm he found they had merged with infinity. If it were possible to fall he could have done so perpetually, never leaving the universe that contained him. But he did not ponder this. He sat cross-legged in the center of his creativity and waited.

He saw that he was alone and it displeased him. He patterned angels out of the nothingness. They formed before him, aesthetic outlines clothed in a costume of fine alabaster thread softer than silk, if it were possible to touch. The angels wore skates which bore them through the unwalled realm. They moved with a steady grace transcending the physics of motion, like falcons in an endless glide never needing to flex their wings. As they passed his field of vision he admired their details which lingered in an afterimage quickly filled by the next of the heavenly forms.

Behind them fluttered a cloth, transparent red, created by the meeting of shadows and light. With a dexterous flip of the wrist the passing angel let loose of the cloth. It hurdled net-like, closer, upon him, invisible as it wrapped his body. The cloth vanished into his skin just as the heaven's walls had merged with a blurred infinity, or as a single snowflake vanishes in warmth. With each new layer he felt his thoughts wander ever further beyond the steady hand of controlled thought. And soon he drifted into sleep.

This was his last resort since counting sheep had lost its effect.

Story #394

This photo appears by the kind courtesy of a fascinating young visual and photographic artist called Cylixe. You may view her video collages at Youtube, or her photography at Flickr. I think you'll see why I was so fascinated by her art. The black and white photographs are poetry for the eye, which is not to say that her color photos are anything less. Please visit her galleries and tell her what you think. And Thanks to everyone who contributed a comment or story here.

June 23rd: If you've clicked in via blogger's "Blogs of Note" - welcome! And thanks Blogger, for this honor! What a stunning surprise it was to notice all the sudden traffic. This blog has been around since 2004 - but lately my posts have not been so frequent. To get a feel for the idea of spontaneous stories written to found photos, I invite you to try the "Random Story" link under that awful profile photo to your right in the sidebar.

Note: One of my short stories has been translated into Spanish at the E-zine Ediciones Efimeras (# 112). Click the green icon and look for the story entitled "Mecánico"

Friday, June 08, 2007

News Flash Interlude

My best friend Vince, whom you may recall from my "Here's How, Sniff" story has just released a new single entitled "Working A Lot." I'm very happy for him, as this is his first release under his own name. Vince has otherwise received quite a lot of recognition as lead guitarist for the iconic avant garde musician Gary Wilson. I met Vince back in 1984, as the department I worked in moved a few desks down the aisle. Vince took over my old desk, and I found myself going back to pick up my messages - but those conversations got longer and longer as we talked about all the music we had in common, such as The Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart and other classics I was just discovering. We quickly became friends, and I'm very glad we kept in touch. There are so many great memories hanging out with Vince, for example, the story behind the above photo.

So do check out Vince's new single, with the tracks "Working A Lot" and "Driving Into New York" - you can listen to samples at Vince's myspace page. You'll find the single at the Itunes site (if you have the Itunes software installed) or at P.S. The tunes are cool and funky!

Other news: Tom & Icy have posted a really funny photo story using a set of photos I took recently.

Last and least: I'll post a photo on Sunday for you all to play with next week - I will be gone then until Friday, somewhere in the wilds of Barcelona.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The party was starting to drag. The problem, quite simply, was that none of the boys could dance. The girls all could, sure, but that's always the case, and the girls who never could looked good faking it. Party hosts Bill and Lil danced obligatorily - but it was the female of the two who had taught the left-footed oaf all he knew. Sally, Malli, Molly and Dolly, lovely and single, wheeled the beats with each other, moving in dazzles of rhythmic rotation, pausing for occasional deep kisses that caught the boys' attention as they sat like flesh-eating wallflowers, backs hugging the wall, feet planted in a stew of yearnful frustration.

This described the general scene at Lil's and Bill's parties, but tonight would be different. At midnight Lil brought out her surprise, a secret weapon she had trained intensively in numerous nighttime sessions while Bill worked late at the office. Her secret appeared at the door, looking quite germane and urbane in the hand-tailored, long-sleeved apparel she'd knitted, and as all eyes perceived, it was a real, live octopus twirling it's way into the room. He danced with Sally, Malli, Molly and Dolly, all four at once. Afterwards, when the lights turned low, he disappeared with his partners, silently, discreetly, but one at a time. Everyone was happy - except the boys, whose arms hung limp and motionless by their sides.

Story #393

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

- I walk along a corridor. Girls are seated on a bench to my right. They are all pretty, clothed in varied tones and cuts of black material. I glance at the faces and forms as I walk by. I join with them mentally, bathing at once in the wild mixture of curiosity and skepticism their eyes betray. I desire them. Each of them. Sometimes the face is partially covered, a dark scarf concealing the mysteries beneath. Lovely banditas. The wall behind is lined with photographs and posters - an occasional face there reminds me of one I saw perhaps thirty seconds ago, but when I return the way I came, I cannot find who it might have been. So I move forwards along the wall of femininity that tempts me with each and every facet of color, form and expression. I attempt to speak to one, than another of the girls. Variations of "Where is this place?" or "Wasn't that you in the photograph I just saw?" Eyes turn upwards to view me. I feel them study me with interest, but the reply is another language whose syllables I cannot decipher, and there is no revelation in the girl's features as to what my questions mean to her. So I continue. Walking. Walking. Walking.

- Describe the corridor.

- It is a corridor without end. Or maybe this is an illusion created by a slight lengthwise convexity of the inner wall, matched by an equal concavity in the outer wall. But if that is so, the walls curve as the surface of the Earth curves, so minutely and negligibly, that it is impossible to perceive. It might be a corridor along a ring of Saturn. But all this remains a vague nuance. It is the girls who command my attention.

- Now I want you to concentrate. To think. This next question is vitally important. Let us say there are four phenomena of the mind. Four categories, antiseptically distinct. There are real perceptions. There are hallucinations. There are daydreams; and finally there are dreams of sleep, perhaps even nightmares. Each of these mind-events leaves indelible traces: memories, the documents we turn over in our hands later and examine front to back for details determined by the intensity of the phenomenon. Look closely at that document you hold now and trace its lineage to the source.

- It's no use. I've tried again and again but I can't. I am terrified that this memory lives, and that I cannot determine its origin. I close my eyes to conjure it forth again. I search for the slightest clue. I dream the memory at night and approach one of the girls to ask if she is an hallucination. But her reply is as meaningless as in the memory.

- Still I feel that we are much nearer now to the truth. But I'm afraid the time is up. We must end the session for today. You will think of these questions, won't you? And we'll continue again next time?

- Yes. I will. We will.

She rose from the plush leather couch that had embraced her form. The therapist watched her. She might be 15. She might be 20, or even 25. Oh to have lain on that couch with her, he thought, instead of this mere exchange of words! He gave a noncommittal glance as she moved towards the door, opened it, and vanished from his sight into the hall. But she did not cease to exist. She scanned the corridor from left to right in search of a vacant place to sit. But each spot on the bench was occupied by a girl she had never seen before. From behind the door the therapist's voice called a name she did not recognize. One of the girls on the bench rose and entered the chamber, leaving a vacant seat behind her.

Story #392

Thanks to everyone who posted a story, despite my having been away so long!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Story Interlude - Thinking

Jess at Just a Touch of Sweetness made my month by nominating me for a Thinking Blogger Award. (No, that's not her picture, but I thought it went well with the idea). If you haven't read Jess you really should. She writes with charm, wit, humor and sexiness that keeps you wanting more. When I read her, I wish it had been Georgia I'd moved to way back when and not Germany. I'd really like to meet her.

So I am going to give my own Thinking Blogger nominations - which requires a lot of thought and I'm not really as good at it as Jess thinks. First off, here are the rules:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the Thinking Blogger Award

My nominations:

1. Princess Haiku's blog is a "literary collage of poetry, prose, photography, classical music, dance and book reviews, written in the tradition of a poetic memoir," as she puts it. The individual collage she presents is the most cultured and has the most depth of any I've seen in the Internet. Intelligently done, a fine balance of video, photography, design and content. Princess Haiku was a shoe-in for this nomination.

2. Colored Clouds has a blog entitled "Creations of Another Nature". Each of her posts is an invitation to reflect, to stop and think about the world around us and feelings we have. The posts are interwoven with her impeccable photography: sight and thought combined. There's a sense of peace and serenity in all of her posts. I always enjoy stopping by there.

3. Ellen at Soulkin is as rare as a speck of amber on a beach of gray sand. There is something divine about the way she writes. The positive outlook and the subtle insights make each post worth its weight (and wait) in gold. I wish she were more prolific, but the quality of her posts makes up for the quantity. If you are ever having a bad day, read a page of her archives and I guarantee you will feel better.

4. Frances Bo Bancess has a wonderful site documenting her thoughts, impressions and vignettes of imagination. Hers was one of the first blogs I ever linked to, and I'm glad I did. It was a long time before I knew her age, and I was surprised when I found out. She is wise far beyond that superficial number.

5. Cooper: Not only is Cooper a Thinking Blogger, she is also our conscience. She sees directly through the bullshit going on in our society and in our world, and with a few clear cut thoughts, chops it into mincemeat. There's greatness at Cooper's, and I predict it's only just begun.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"I've known you all my life," the girl declared into the Sun, a meaningful smile glazing the words. Her sentiments rose like steaming vapor into the air and melted in the sunlight. The Sun was strangely intense in the last minutes before the dusk, but heard, nevertheless.

"And so many have forgotten," the Sun whispered with words that glowed warmth onto her legs, tanning them instantly. There wasn't often time to converse. The massive sphere went about a "daily" routine, spewing rays into infinity, while the globes of the Universal realm orbited and spun perpetually, hoping to catch the emanating breaths with every aspect of their geographical contours.

She continued her adoring smile straight into the glowing body with eyes immune to the intense glare: "I will not forget."

"You are worthy to be cherished," the Sun breathed in response with sizzling licks that felt grand on her bare limbs.

In the early days of human existence the Sun was all-encompassing. It was God and Goddess alike. Before the dawn of language its daily journey was the one expression that all understood. Universal and Archetypal. But now? Demysticized century after century, and finally with the arrival of technology, the Sun felt impotent and eclipsed. There was so much more to compete with - Internet - Playstations - Reality Shows. No one cared about a burning orb crossing the heavens from an Eastern point in the horizon to some obscure destination in the West. The daytime omnipresence no longer overwhelmed, was no longer a part of primal perception.

She read these thoughts in the waning rays cast upon her. "I will change all that," she stated boldly, above her ability to know how stunning her presence would be when she left that hidden alcove of the long-distance bus that carried her. The holy tan of her skin and the Sun-like glow of her disposition would charm those who had forsaken the memory of Ra, of Helios, of Amaterasu, and all the other names of Sol.

"Yes you will, my child," spoke the Sun while the land beneath slipped away into the jurisdiction and influence of the Nocturnal. "You are my offspring, and I give you the night!" And then the Sun was gone. A fading glow lingered on the Western horizon, the Sun still trying to meet her eyes. The bus, her birthplace into instant womanhood, vanished into the night, ever closer to its destination.

Story #391

This photo appears with kind permission from Myca Angel, a user in Chile, with two very [lovely] [pages] of photography accompanied by her passionate texts written in Spanish. Anyone who would like is invited to contribute a spontaneous story inspired by the above image.

Here is another story written to a photo by Myca Angel: Story #400.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The terror began and ended in her arms - not that there was anything horrific about her, or the arms - it was all in his con-voluted, relationship-analyzing, dis-satisfied brain. Out of those thoughts seeped a labyrinthine fog that wound about and kept her from him, while he, in the center of that density, felt hollow inside. Indeed. Something was missing.

"Why do you look so disturbed," she'd asked him, concerned at the expression clouding his face.
"Nothing, it's nothing at all."
"I don't please you."
"Yes, of course you do," but his reassurance was empty, even to himself. Then he'd fix his gaze on a fleeting image of her in a drinking glass, specters of his own imaginings that were the essence of the girl he wanted, the girl that wasn't there.

It hadn't always been that way. Not before that visit to the art museum. They walked in, hand in hand, harmoniously in love, walked past couples on canvas. First the naturalistic styles. How grand it was walking with her! Then the impressionists. But was it really right? The expressionists. He began not to understand her. Then into the next room, where the implode ended. Surrealists! When he saw into her eyes. she never looked that way, and when he folded her in his embrace none of those parts were ever there.

Story #390

Thanks to all who wrote a story and waited so patiently for me to post mine! I'm really lucky to have such creative visitors.