• Tag Archives Life
  • Coping through the Election

    With all the worries laid on many of us due to upheavals in politics, government overreach, and other matters that shouldn’t be happening in a free country, we may find ourselves feeling overwhelmed.

    When the above are added to our everyday stresses of work and family, if we’re not careful we might become ill. Depression, anxiety, and stress can lead to physical symptoms like headaches and sciatica. (I should know).

    So I’m going to simply trust in God that everything will work out as He planned. After all, with the exception of casting our own vote, we have no control. We can’t control what other folks choose to do, nor should we wish to. Everyone is an individual, and has their own reasons for their own positions. We should simply love our friends, period.

     

    So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

    Matthew 7:12

     

    The above is a pretty good way to live. If everyone did it, the world would be a better place right now.

    A friend recently told me the following, which she had heard from someone else. I don’t know the author of this quote, but whoever it is seems a genius.

     

    Love others, trust God, the end.

     

    This is all we can do. Remember God’s words to His children:

     

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    Jeremiah 29:11

     

    We should enjoy our lives. It’s going to be a long, hot summer. I’m gonna keep my cool, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

    Unknown

     


  • Crushed By Comedy

    Yesterday I saw the trailer for ABC Family’s (Disney), new sitcom, The Real O’Neals. (Please click link to watch. For added context, read the comments on You Tube.)

    Now, if you watched, you will know what I am about to discuss. So right off the bat, I’ll say this: If you’re reading this, and you’re one of those people who think “Christians & Catholics are way too sensitive. They’re always claiming they’re persecuted, when they’re the ones who are always persecuting other groups,” here’s a warning:  I’m going to write my thoughts here. If you typically laugh when religions are mocked, this probably isn’t the best place for you, unless you have a thick skin.

     

    I intend to write TO the people I’ve just described, you understand. I’m just trying to minimize any hurt I might inflict on the folks who might be offended at the following post. If you can’t take what you love to dish out, you might want to quit reading this. Go put your jammies on and get your mom to make you a cup of cocoa instead.

    I’ve given you fair warning.

    First, a few photos:  My Rosary was given to me as a birthday gift by my sister and her family about ten years ago.  It’s a big part of my life. At one point in my life I prayed it every single day without fail. These days I don’t always manage to say it every day. Last night, after  watching this sitcom trailer, I immediately turned to this prayer, though, for comfort.

    IMG_2103
    My Rosary. I try to pray it everyday. Sometimes I miss a day.

     

    (My statue of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is in the dining room of my home. She is not, nor has she ever been perched above my toilet.)

     

    IMG_2104
    My Statue of Mary, Mother Of Jesus.

     

     

    IMG_2105

    Above  is the china cabinet in my dining room. The photo of the little girls in the white dress is me. It was taken on the day of my First Holy Communion.

    Inside the homes of my mother and sister are similar statues and photos, along with crucifixes, Bibles and Catholic reading material. So, In at least three families in America (probably more, but these are the homes that I frequent) the Virgin Mary is not placed in the room where people go to take a shit. Who knew?

    When my friends and I do charity work in our church, we never keep the money. (Just so ya know.) There are at least a few Catholics who actually collect money and other supplies for the needy, and then ……actually GIVE THE COLLECTION TO THOSE IT IS INTENDED FOR. Now I know this may be difficult for some people to believe. After all, ABC and Disney would NEVER lie! They made a sitcom out of the goodness of their hearts to inform non Catholics about the way Catholics conduct their affairs at home, at work, and at church.

    However, before you sit down to enjoy family time with your children while watching The Real O’Neal’s, you might want to say, (to yourself only, of course): “I seriously doubt it, because I get all my informashun about the fools who believe in Jeeezus from TV shows, but there may be a few Catholics who don’t act like the O’Neals. I mean, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Maybe they’re all not like that.”

    Now, please. I don’t mean that you faithful folks who learn everything you know about religious people from the boob tube should mention this to your children. Never, ever do that! They are getting their education on Catholicism in an entertaining and fun way. Best that they never consider that Christians might actually be decent people. That would be heretical. Don’t do it!

    You must sit with them in your living room, and laugh when the laugh track prompts you. That way, your kids can learn the truth without you having to say a word about what you know: That Catholics are all slimy hateful fools who know nothing about compassion or acceptance of others. You, as parents, are being given a gift by Disney. Don’t blow it! Even if you know of a Catholic here and there who acts in the exact opposite way than that of the O’Neals, do not tell your children. They need to know what’s what. Make sure you start them young. Progress, you know…

    Okay. Enough snark. Now I will admit my true feelings. Ever since I watched that trailer, I have felt beaten and crushed. Not physically, of course. Only mentally. I was terribly upset after watching it. I almost cried. I slept last night, only because I took a sleeping pill. In fact, I will admit that I am crying, right now. This is my blog. I pay a fee for my website and blog, and this is what I decided to write about.

    Following is the creator of this sitcom, Dan Savage, an anti-bullying advocate, speaking to a group of high schoolers. Please watch.

     

    The girl who walked out of the auditorium crying reminds me of me. I simply can’t help myself. It’s difficult to watch your entire life and what you believe be trashed in a hateful manner by someone claiming to be an expert on the damages bullying can do. Especially when the expert bullies others, wishing them to be stricken with cancer, and then admits that he, himself engaged in bullying.

    I refuse to sign a petition demanding The Real O’Neals show be cancelled, though. This is because I know that there’s another one lurking in the mind of some sadistic hater just waiting in the wings. This is going to get worse before it gets better, if it ever does.

    Christ tells us to love and pray for our enemies:

     

     

    However, I hope He’ll for give me if I put it off until tomorrow. I already put it off until today, but I simply cannot bring myself to say a prayer for Dan Savage and the people who created this sitcom. I’ll try again tomorrow. Perhaps, at Mass this evening, I will look at the beautiful stained glass windows depicting the Saints, and find it in my heart to ask God to give me the words I should use to pray for Dan Savage.

    Again, I must admit that I’m ready to cry. I hope to feel better later.

    Since I’m one of those people who simply can’t learn the lesson progressives are teaching: (You, as a Catholic, are a hateful bigot. Your entire life is based on lies in an old book. You play with beads while chanting, like some throwback to medieval times. You follow an old man in Rome. You pray to a magical sky God who doesn’t exist. You are stupid. You are backward. You deserve to be ridiculed, mocked, hated and shunned. You deserve this. You deserve it, and you need to just accept it. Your feelings do not matter, because one thousand years ago, the crusades happened. You are a freak, your parents were freaks and your children are freaks. They will always be freaks. Your grandchildren, if they are lucky, will learn from we the tolerant and enlightened that you are a freak. They will laugh at you, too, behind their hands. It does not matter how hard you pray to your fake and hateful God. You are NOTHING. Nothing. You need to understand this. Learn your freaking lesson, now, or else).

    I guess I’m finished my rant. I will probably spend this day crying to Our Lord and His Mother. People may say, “Why would you allow others to make you feel as though you are a piece of shit? Why should they ruin your day?”

    I don’t know the answer. I only know that, today, that’s exactly how I feel. I have learned to deal with hurt of this kind over the years. I don’t know why this particular episode hurt me so much. I only know that it hurts.

     


  • Baltimore

    I was glued to the TV last night, watching another American city self destruct. I don’t know the answers, and I’m waiting for the results of the investigation of Freddy Gray’s death. To judge anyone except the people who are supposed to be leading Maryland at this point would be wrong, and unfair. IMO, the mayor and Governor were and are derelict in their duty, but it’s much too late to change the results.

    Larger issues are in play, anyway. Has anyone noticed a pattern? How many more American cities will be destroyed before things change?

    quote-for-peace-is-not-mere-absence-of-war-but-is-a-virtue-that-springs-from-a-state-of-mind-a-baruch-spinoza-175778

    The above quote is profound. America, at this point in time, has retreated from anything remotely resembling the word “war.” We have retreated from even admitting we have enemies. So… the war is over!

    Where the hell is the peace? Where? Is there peace in the Middle East? In Western Europe? In Eastern Europe? In South America? In Mexico? In the United States of America? Where is the peaceful state of mind? Where is the benevolent attitude, and the confidence that justice is being pursued? I look around, but I don’t see it. All I see is a number of ugly incidents which seem to be battles in some sort of war masquerading as “Peace.”

    Last night another American city was looted and burned. People’s homes, jobs and businesses were trashed. I think I may have written a blogpost on this same scenario during the Ferguson Riots. It seems to be getting closer to my neck of the woods. Right now I’m wondering which city will be next.

    The following song from Barry McGuire has been on my mind a lot lately. Click here to listen.

    “Eve Of Destruction”

    The eastern world it is exploding
    Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
    You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
    You don’t believe in war but whats that gun you’re totin’?
    And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

    But you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
    Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
    If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
    There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave
    Take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you boy

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Yeah my blood’s so mad feels like coagulating
    I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
    I can’t twist the truth it knows no regulation
    Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
    And marches alone can’t bring integration
    When human respect is disintegratin’
    This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Think of all the hate there is in Red China
    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
    You may leave here for four days in space
    But when you return it’s the same old place
    The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace
    You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace
    Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

    And tell me
    Over and over and over and over again my friend
    You don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction
    Mmm, no, no, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    This was written in the 1960s. It’s one of those anti-Vietnam hippie songs that blame “the man” for everything going wrong in the world. The people who protested the Vietnam conflict said they were going to change the world.

    Well, who’s in charge now? Them. The same people who dissed American values back then are the ones running America now. So why all the conflict? Why all the riots? What the hell happened?

    IMO, they happened. The peace is always just out of reach, like one of those merry-go-round rings I could never reach as a child. Talking heads speak of justice and peace, but a few hours later we see destruction and flames. It’s no wonder ordinary people feel that we’re on the Eve Of Destruction.

    However, there is a wild card. Click here to see what one mom did to combat the absence of peace America is caught up in. She’s mother of the year as far as I’m concerned.

    As for Baltimore, at this point in time, we who have no power can only pray for the innocent victims, and pray that such a thing doesn’t erupt in another American city before the time comes to walk into the voting booth again.

    I’ve only visited Baltimore once or twice. I thought the Inner Harbor was a lovely place. It’s awful that the people who live in Baltimore are afraid and mourning their town. It’s another tragedy in this “peaceful” world.

    In honor of Baltimore, click here for  another piece of poetry in music.

    My City Of Ruins

    There’s a blood red circle
    on the cold dark ground
    and the rain is falling down
    The church doors blown open
    I can hear the organ’s song
    But the congregation’s gone

    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Now the sweet veils of mercy
    drift through the evening trees
    Young men on the corner
    like scattered leaves
    The boarded up windows
    The hustlers and thieves
    While my brother’s down on his knees

    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Come on rise up!
    Come on rise up!

    Now there’s tears on the pillow
    darling where we slept
    and you took my heart when you left
    without your sweet kiss
    my soul is lost, my friend
    Now tell me how do I begin again?

    My city’s in ruins
    My city’s in ruins

    Now with these hands
    I pray Lord
    with these hands
    for the strength Lord
    with these hands
    for the faith Lord
    with these hands
    I pray Lord
    with these hands
    for the strength Lord
    with these hands
    for the faith Lord
    with these hands

    Come on rise up!
    Come on rise up!

    Come on rise up….
    Bruce Springsteen
    Prayers for Baltimore, America and Peace in the World.

  • Making A Difference

    How do we, as ordinary people, make a difference? I don’t really know the answer.

    Looking at the monumental problems in the world today is so difficult that I feel overwhelmed.

    Radicals have overtaken a great portion of the Middle East. This is a fact. Christians are being beheaded because they believe in Christ. They are also being crucified. Muslims who do not subscribe to the radical dictates put forth by the Islamist State are burned alive.  At the time of this writing, a group of children are in a cage, awaiting their deaths by burning. I’m not attaching any links in this post. These incidents are true, and can be found on respected news sites. (Not NBC News).

    Despite the advance of science, “pro choice” advocates insist that an unborn child is not a human being. However, they cannot tell us exactly when the child becomes human. If they’re so smart, why can’t they tell us when an unborn child becomes a human, deserving the same protections and rights as a child born five minutes ago? The people I’m speaking of hold a great deal of power. They are politicians who are assuming more and more control over us each and every day.

    Our churches are being forced to go against the tenants of Faith. Ordinary people must speak in hushed voices for fear of the PC police targeting them for some “sin” of speech. People are led to believe there is a caste system in America by slimy politicians and the “media” who are currently jamming the following talking point: Nobody can amount to anything, especially becoming President. unless he or she holds a four year college degree.

    There are plenty of other similar contradictions. If I mentioned them all, I wouldn’t be finished this post until I’m eighty years old.

    So, what can we do to make a difference? It seems the deck is stacked against us. How are these problems and others ever to be fixed?

    Well, we have to start somewhere. We need to take a first step. If any or all of the above upset you, just take one step each day to help reverse course.

    Pray for peace. This doesn’t mean praying & hoping for ONLY the absence of war. That notion may be why the world is in such turmoil today. Think about it. In order to appease violent groups, the West, (including America) has enabled them to gain ground enough to begin beheading people on camera. Appeasing and coddling those who want to kill our children isn’t exactly working to our advantage. Other people’s children are dying in horrific ways, and if we don’t figure out a way to put a stop to it, eventually some of our children will end up the same way. We should face facts. Pray for a real leader to emerge. Get informed. Don’t listen to “news” or “journalists” who have been caught lying or smearing others. Think for yourself.

    Do something to help disenfranchised human beings, including unborn children. If you know, in your heart, that unborn children are human beings, stand and speak for them. Vote for people who will fight for the disenfranchised. This is a small step in the right direction.

    Give people of Faith the same tolerance you expect from them. People who object to serving in the Military are not forced to do so, yet people who are opposed to paying for other people’s abortions are forced to do so by law. Why should this be acceptable to anyone?

    I can imagine the hue and cry that would ensue if, at some point in the future, Veterinarians and their staff and stores like Petco were forced by law to contribute a part of their earnings to be used for the mass euthanization of dogs, cats, or other animals. It wouldn’t fly. There would be a March in the streets of DC, and the law would be changed. Why can’t human beings be afforded the same respect as pets?

    These issues are mind boggling. Please, if you feel the way I do, take at least one step to change things before it’s too late. Get involved. There are too few of us who are involved and we can’t do it all. Find a way to help change course.

    If you are not a person of Faith, you can still look deep into your heart and find the answers. If you are a person of Faith (no matter which Faith) you can pray for answers and follow the dictates given you. If you are a Christian, you can be Christ’s hands, feet, and voice, and do what Jesus would do.

    10006242_755834511102140_1937104054_n

     

    Update: According to a source found here, the children in the cage were being photographed by Islamic extremists for propaganda purposes, and they won’t be burned alive. Still, it was an act of cruelty to the children, but that’s the way ISIS rolls.

    Again, we in the West had better wake up and demand that our “leaders” do what needs to be done for our protection if we don’t want such incidents to begin happening on American soil.

     


  • Music – An Inspiration

    I’ve been working on a project in my mostly nonexistent spare time: Deciding on “songs” for the characters in my series of books.

    Most writers find that their characters (both good and bad) become real to them. Mine have to me. In my mind each character has a distinct personality, part of which pertains to music.

    I must admit that deciding which song fits each character is turning out to take longer than expected. I’m trying to find songs that the characters would listen to while at the same time conveying the personality of the character. My favorite music genre is Classic Rock, so many characters’ songs will reflect this, though I do include other genres for characters who would, if they were people rather than fictional characters, listen and identify with different music.

    Some characters were easy to assign a song. Reese, for instance. Reese is a secondary character, but still very important to the overall series. Reese is someone who knows exactly how he feels on a minute to minute basis. He’s also an Iraq War Veteran and no nonsense auto mechanic. Reese’s song is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets.”

    Other characters weren’t so easy. After some thought I decided on Led Zeppelin’s “Battle Of Evermore” for the character I call the Battling Angel.

     

    The sky is filled with good and bad
    Mortals never know.

    Oh, well, the night is long
    The beads of time pass slow
    Tired eyes on the sunrise
    Waiting for the eastern glow

    The Angel is in the service of St. Michael the Archangel, and is sent to warn and protect main characters Jason and Michelle.  St Michael, of course, is in the service of Christ, who I wouldn’t dream of assigning a song. He’s my Boss. He gives me assignments. I just do my best to carry out His orders.

    485976_580385365313723_901909429_n

    I’m beginning to note ideas and plotlines for book three. While writing Tears Of Paradox  and The Notice, (coming in mid-February) I relied heavily on prayer and reflection. I wanted Christ to be at the helm, and I tried to write what I felt He would want me to write. I’m going to do the same thing while writing book three.

    I plan to complete the entire character/song list within a few weeks and then include it in a second blogpost. I already know protagonist Jason’s song, but I still haven’t decided on a song for another pivotal character, Brad.

    Following are the words to Michelle’s song, The Scarlet Tide, as sung by Alison Krauss. This is from the movie “Cold Mountain” –a terrific film.

    Well I recall his parting words
    Must I accept his fate
    Or take myself far from this place
    I thought I heard a black bell toll
    A little bird did sing
    Man has no choice
    When he wants every thingWe’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the brideMan goes beyond his own decision
    Gets caught up in the mechanism
    Of swindlers who act like kings
    And brokers who break everything
    The dark of night was swiftly fading
    Close to the dawn of day
    Why would I want him just to lose him again

    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride

    Michelle is separated from her husband, not knowing what the future holds. She’s also, for all intents and purposes, in the middle of a civil war. This is one of the songs that inspired The Storms Of Transformation series, book three of which will be set in the North Carolina Blue Ridge, in roughly the same area as the fictional Cold Mountain.

    More in a later post.


  • Almost There

    I’m can’t believe I’m almost ready to publish my second novel.

    What a roller coaster ride the past 5-6 years have been, since I really got to work on writing. I have always created and always wrote, but never thought I would write a book. I began creating around age ten, when I learned to sew on my mom’s Singer sewing machine. I learned to sew clothes and made a stuffed hippopotamus from a Simplicity pattern. The material had a pink background and was dotted with what looked like candy. I think the hippopotamus may be in my mother’s attic.

    I sewed by hand and machine for many years. When my five year old cousin’s stuffed Minnie Mouse frayed, I mended it for her. I don’t really remember learning to knit, I only know that I learned before age ten. I think my mother taught me. She was a great knitter in her younger years.

    When my daughter was born I sewed special clothes for her, cute little sunsuits, hats and dresses. This continued. I sewed a First Communion dress for my daughter, who was very particular. She did not want satin or frilly lace. The dress had to fit her specs: cotton cloth with a sailor collar, Irish lace and a few tucks, nothing fancy. She picked it. There was a bit of a ruckus about shoes. My daughter loved fancy black patent leather Mary Janes. She wore them from age two on; they were a mainstay. At First Communion time we decided to just let her wear the black shoes instead of buying new white shoes that we knew she would never wear again. I think she may have argued a bit, but we ignored her. That was a mistake. In the group photo of the First Communion class, my child was the only girl with black shoes. The sewing for my daughter went on through High School. I sewed all of her Homecoming and Prom gowns. I did not offer to make her wedding gown, and she did not ask me, thank God.

    The sewing continued for nieces. Here’s a picture of a baptismal gown I sewed. Both nieces wore it. I made a fancy satin appliqué Communion dress for my nieces.

    1933893_102245853127679_7037035_n

     

    Over the years I’ve made many quilts. Here’s one of my favorites.

    IMG_2656

    I learned to hand spin wool on my spinning wheel and knit it into garments. I’ve created lovely embroidered linens and cross stitched pieces, and knitted scarves, sweaters and afghans without number.

    IMG_2657

    My home is filled with beautiful stitchery. I’ve also knitted baby items for donation to moms in need and created quilts for my children and other members of my family. I do it because I love them.

    IMG_2658

    The cross stitched bear above hangs in my sewing room. He’s one of my favorites.

    I don’t know why I waited until I was in my forties to begin writing seriously. I wrote on and off throughout my life, in diaries and journals, but even though I had a secret dream of writing a book, I never took myself seriously until the idea for what ultimately would become the Storms Of Transformation series practically hit me over the head. It was a turning point in my life, one of those occasions that you remember in detail. I remember exactly where I was when the idea slammed me. The idea of NOT following through and at least trying to write was out of the question. I had to do it. I think my ideas have merit. I hope others like my work, but even if that isn’t the case, I won’t stop. My grandchildren may read my work someday. If America continues  on its current path, at least they’ll know I tried.


  • Self-Set Deadlines vs The Realities of Life

    Deadlines are good, right? Of course they are. I’ve been setting deadlines for years, way before I began my new endeavor of writing fiction. The deadlines usually had something to do with Christmas, and the fact that I had to be finished handmade gifts for my family by December 24th of each year. Maybe that’s the reason I gave myself the deadline of publishing “The Notice” — Book Two in The Storms Of Transformation Series — in time for Christmas, 2014.

    Well, life sometimes throws us curve balls, and I must admit…I’m a few weeks behind schedule. I’m still working furiously on the editing process of book two, along with the help of a new friend, Kia Heavey, author of Night Machines and UnderlakeI met Kia, along with many other new and talented friends, when I joined the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, on Facebook.

    Conservative Fiction

    Please visit their page, and “like” it. Reading is a very personal experience. The mainstream publishing industry brings us many fine books every year, but so do independent authors/publishers. Things have changed in the world of words. Good stories are available without a middle man. If you’re looking for something new, please give independent authors a try.

    That brings me back to my reason for this post–I’m a few weeks behind schedule, so I’ve set a new deadline: “The Notice” will be published in January, 2015, instead of Christmastime, 2014. I truly want to bring readers a quality book. I want to make sure everything is as perfect as humanly possible, so please forgive me for releasing book two a few week later than previously announced. It will be worth the wait.

    This morning I went for a run. I decided to snap a few pictures along the way–of the road which inspired a good part of Tears Of Paradoxand “The Notice”.

    bridge

     

    This bridge doesn’t look spooky, right? Of course not…not in the morning sunlight. But personally, I wouldn’t run–or walk–in this area after dark, unless I had a lot of company. Following is a short excerpt from “The Notice”, detailing protagonist Jason’s experience at age nineteen, while driving along this road with “the sophomore”– a mysterious part of his past.

     

    “The area surrounding us seemed surreal. I was reminded of that painter Brad’s mom liked–the one who painted farms, a lot of barns, all in muted tones. The image of a huge pig flashed through my mind, and was gone as fast as it came, as we crawled down a different winding road along the creek. We stopped at a crossroad, deserted, next to an old stone church and a graveyard. The place was enclosed by a fieldstone wall, half falling down. The gravestones slanted this way and that.  Next to the road stood a tall stone, with a plaque mounted on it. I pulled over hastily to read it, thinking it might tell me where I was, but the words that jumped out of the dimness were “Indiantown”, and “William Penn”, along with the date…1683. Then the sophomore began talking about the graveyard. Apparently, one of the graves was haunted. She called it Ticking Tomb, whatever the hell that meant.

     

    Ticking Tomb

     

    The words Mason-Dixon jumped out of her chatter…(She was a history major). But all I noticed were the lightning bugs, flickering and flashing among the gravestones. I let out the clutch and we squealed away; the whole thing was giving me the creeps.  As I sped on, she warned me not to turn off toward what looked like a place I could pull over. I need to take a leak…this place is creepy.

    The sophomore told me to keep straight on the road, or else we’d come to a dead end, where stood the ruins of another covered bridge. It was burned down by arsonists fifty years earlier, and never rebuilt. She remarked that it would have taken us to the next state again, if we could have driven that way another quarter mile. I went on straight, still needing to take a whiz. Then we came to yet another little one lane bridge, looming in the dim light of dusk. It humped in the middle, and I was almost afraid to go up it, not knowing what might be lurking on the opposite side. Billy Penn’s ghost…or some pissed off Lenape, holding a hatchet.

    My hair seemed to stand on end. I shivered, even though it was eighty-five degrees. After the bridge, the road narrowed even more. It became mostly gravel, and I hoped Brad’s car didn’t get hit by tar chips. I can’t afford a new paint job. I navigated potholes and stepped on the clutch, shifted into low gear to get the Trans Am up a steep hill, bordered on either side by high banks and more trees. They arched gloomily over the road in the twilight, before it widened a little again, and we went down the other side. Where the hell are we? This place is creepy as shit.

    I asked her if she knew where we were. She laughed again as we continued on up another hill; more cornfields on the left, dark woods on the right. She told me to take the next right. Go out the back way; we’d be back on the highway in ten minutes. It was getting dark as I turned at the stop sign, and headed down another stretch of road. It was perfectly flat, bordered on either side by nothing but meadows and cornfields and one old farmhouse, way back at the edge of the woods. Damn…what a place for a race. Wish I knew about this a few years ago when Ceej and that little punk bastard were racing. This place would have been perfect. That little stuck up punk…wonder whatever happened to him…

    Her next words—something to the effect that the place had been known as the Flats for as long as anyone could remember, and that her uncle used to race his ‘68 GTO there before he went on to be killed in Vietnam—made my hair stand on end again. Then I saw the sign. Some state park buried out there in the boonies. Gravel spun out as I turned in on two wheels, hoping to find a place to take a whiz. I parked the car and got out, quickly.”

    I hope readers are enjoying my work. I’m learning more and more each day about writing fiction, and I hope the above excerpt conveys the creepy atmosphere intended.

    I’ve lived in this area all my life. I sometimes forget its history. I’ve been running past Ticking Tomb Church for many years, but only in daylight. You couldn’t pay me to go into that park alone after dark.