Tag Archives: creative writing

Fall in the Wasatch Mountains

I turned off the engine and got out of my car. The first thing I noticed was the quiet. My footsteps crunched. The sound shattered the quiet so I stopped moving.

Not even a breath of air disturbed the stillness.

Late fall colors.
Late fall colors behind Mt. Timpanogos.

I strained to hear something, anything. A distant bird cry, found my ears. A hawk floated on invisible air currents above a mountain meadow. It had seen me first. Its screech brought relief. I had not lost my hearing, rather, I had lost the noise of cities and people when I drove beyond the paved road. It would take some time for my brain to adjust to the back country silence.

Heavy footsteps echoed against the mountains, coming closer. A father and son lumbered past, walking a nearby trail with rifles and backpacks. Deer hunters. They were not quiet. The deer would hear them coming.

Aspen Grove.
The leaves are mostly gone from this aspen grove behind Mt. Timpanogos, although fall colors remain.

I turned from my overlook and hiked into the Aspens. The stillness of open land evaporated amidst the stand of trees. It was not that it wasn’t quiet. It was more that the trees were aware of my passing and were whispering among themselves. I could hear them, but I could not understand the words. I was not unwelcome, but I was watched.

Fall had come to the high mountains. The calendar did not yet speak of winter, but the nearly barren branches spoke of cold nights and shortened days. Fall colors still glowed beneath the trees, holding on to their end-of-life color. There must be an inherent knowledge in nature that life will come again in order to celebrate death with such brilliance.

Mountain stream, American Fork Canyon.
Time slows down near a mountain stream in American Fork Canyon.

In the distance I could hear the soughing of water. In a few minutes I found the stream. It wasn’t a big stream but it had been raining and the gentle babble was swelling to a rush. A persistent drizzle suggested more rain was coming. Perhaps the stream had river aspirations.

American Fork Canyon.
Rays of light penetrate the clouds just before sunset in American Fork Canyon behind Mount Timpanogos.

I would not stay long in these mountains, this day. My journey was meant only as a reminder of peace and place and permanence in Mother Nature’s cycles.

I would touch the earth to quiet my soul and take with me a portion of stillness.

She’s Leaving Home

She left for college last week, my youngest daughter. She was so excited and busy preparing. We were out together and I wanted to take her picture.

No.

Why not?

People are watching.

Come on, just stand over there. The light is nice.

DSC03548_Chloe on Stairs_Pike Place MarketNo!

She can be that way, stubborn, strong willed, opinionated. If there were still knights in the world, I’m sure she would be among their order, defending the weak, championing the right and the good against injustice. She was not shy about telling me when my decisions were, in her opinion, unjust. She was, often, like now, embarrassed by my actions.

Dad, not now.

I took a picture of her shadow as she walked away. I didn’t ask for permission.

She is gone, away to college. I am confident that in her studies she will find a grail, or bring back an elixir that will change the world. Her quest has certainly changed mine.

Our house is much quieter. I don’t wait up at night for her to come home. Her room is clean.

Yet, in the early morning, I still catch glimpses of her shadow and I find that I miss the light of her smile.

DSC00794_Chloe
Chloe

Deep Time, Capitol Reef

It takes a while for things to change.
Patience and faith, they say.
I can’t wait. I won’t, I say.
You must.

Grand Wash Stars.
Stars above Grand Wash Capitol Reef.

Deep time puts the age of Earth at four-and-one-half billion years.

Hickman Bridge
Named after Joseph Hickman, Hickman natural bridge is 133 feet long and 125 feet high.

I sense immense distance in Earth’s span, yet the years mean nothing in comprehending the patterns of death and life and death again which deposit layers of yesterdays upon tomorrows, until all that remains is this moment.

I stand in a place where the evidence of change surrounds me, yet actual change can not be seen.

Perhaps these rocks crumble to dirt,
waiting,
for a million, maybe a billion years, for me to walk this path.

Red dirt sticks to my shoes and I carry it with me in defiance of the law of long waits.

Capitol Valley.
The Freemont river cuts a valley just below Capitol Dome.

I am here. Now.

The wind soughs and the rocks speak in whispers. I stand still and listen. The words do not bring me comfort. Change is as the rocks.

Capitol Dome
Capitol Dome, Capitol Reef National Park.

I look up at the sandstone sentinels and the sky stretches out before me.

I am small, insignificant, tenuous.

I look down and a silver stream glints below towering canyon walls. My heart skips a beat and I step back from the ledge. I have climbed much higher than I realize.

Davy on the rocks.
Davy scales the cliffs near Hickman Bridge bowl.

My breath catches as my son scales the cliffs below me. The rocks he climbs are hard broken. I call out not to walk those rocks, they may crumble. He has not yet reached the precipice on which I stand and must choose his path. I squint in harsh sunlight and see myself in his approaching shadow.

I feel old.

I see in him that I am old,
old in that my body is not what it once was;
not so old, in that the elements which make up my frame have not yet been scattered by hot winds relentlessly carving through stone.

My son will climb much higher than I have steps remaining. Yet, I still have steps remaining.

And the Gods said, “Let it be so.” And they watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed. For even the Gods must watch and wait.

Big Dipper above Wind Gate Capitol Reef.
The Big Dipper rises above Grand Wash Wind Gate in Capitol Reef.

In the vast continuum of eternity, patience and faith take time.

So I am learning.

Towering sentinels of Capitol Reef.
Towering sentinels of Capitol Reef.

Wistfully, I lift a handful of dust and toss it to the sky. The wind accepts my offering.

My time has come. I have touched the rock of ages and must not linger.

In deep time,
the changes I hope for are carving the canyons of my soul.

Grand Valley
Capitol Reef National Park.

 

Woman in White, Istanbul

Cedar City Art Walk Image 9.

Woman in White, Istanbul
In coverings of her faith, an old woman waits for answers to her unuttered prayers.

Dressed in white,
in the attitude of prayer,
she rested on a bench in the courtyard of a mosque.

Some great need, a solemn request, or perhaps, a simple expression of gratitude lengthened her stay in the morning shadows.

Eyes closed, head bowed, her lips moved. I could not hear the words, yet, I watched, to see if God might come to her in this place.

She felt my presence and looked up. Her eyes spoke volumes.

Surely, God would grant her request.

 

For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2015/06/09/suu-features-exhibition-stories-tell/28764023/

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Lubumbashi Uncle

Cedar City Art Walk Image 8.

Lubumbashi Uncle
After the storm, Uncle watched as we played with his brother’s family.

We’d been invited to visit a family in the town of Lubumbashi. The journey was rugged. It had rained. Roads were muddy. Occasional lighting flashed and thunder cracked. Their home was modest, brick and stone. Uncle sat outside watching us pull up in our Land Rover. He did not speak English. We could not communicate in words. As we played with his brother’s children, Uncle remained in his chair, following us with his eyes, perspiration glistening his skin in the moist afternoon heat. When I asked about his story, they simply said, “He has seen much.” I showed him my camera, hoping for permission to take his picture.

Our eyes met. He nodded, but did not smile.

For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2015/06/09/suu-features-exhibition-stories-tell/28764023/

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Death Comes At Night

Death Comes at Night Novel
Front cover of my new novel, Death Comes At Night

My first novel, Death Comes At Night, is now available for pre-order from the publisher. You can buy the book using this link:  http://www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/death-comes-at-night

Use promo code: PREORDER2015 to receive a 10% discount. The book will be available as both a hard copy and an ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. It is scheduled for release in two weeks.

Although this may seem like a dramatic departure from my regular blog posts, I wanted you all to know, and to share, and to buy 🙂

It takes a lot of effort to get a new book out there, so, please share this will all your friends and contacts. And, please buy the book 🙂 It WILL keep you up at night. Comments are welcomed. Please be honest 🙂

Here’s what it’s about:

Daniel Monson is about to find that Death Comes at Night.

Driving home from work one night, Daniel nearly runs over a woman standing in the road. Distraught, screaming, she appears to need his help. When Daniel gets out of his car to help her, what he doesn’t know is that she is already dead. From that moment, Daniel’s life spirals out of control. The dead woman has an agenda.

Kill her killer.

Tormented by the dead woman, Daniel is compelled to help. The closer he gets to her killer, the closer her killer gets to him. The hunter is hunted. Daniel’s life is in jeopardy. Then, the killer turns his attention to Daniel’s wife and daughter. Now, the dead woman must help Daniel before her killer destroys his family.

From the book:

“ARE YOU CRAZY?” Daniel said in his most understated yell. “What are you doing standing in the middle of the road? You could get killed.”

The woman turned slowly toward Daniel, arms at her side. She was barefoot, wearing a black cocktail dress, soaked to the skin. She was slender. Her hair was long and dark and very wet. She could have been swimming. Her eyes looked empty somehow, vacant. Daniel couldn’t tell if she could even see him, or hear him.

He took a step toward her.

“Are you O.K?”

She looked right at him.

Then, she SCREAMED.

A blood-curdling scream.

She backed away from Daniel, pulling her arms across her chest. She convulsed in a gag, bending over.

Daniel took another step toward her.

“NO!” she sobbed. “Don’t touch me. Don’t come near me.”

Daniel backed off. Holding his hands out, to show her he meant no harm.

“It’s O.K. I won’t hurt you. I can help you.”

“Help me?” she sobbed. “Help me, please,” she repeated, desperately.

Daniel took a step toward her.

“No, don’t,” she backed up.

Daniel stopped.

“I won’t,” he said. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?”

Her sobs continued.

“I…don’t…know. Something…happened.”

“What? Where?”

She pointed down a muddy road, into the dark woods. Drizzling diamonds glistened in the yellowing headlights from Daniel’s car, still on. All Daniel could see was mud, trees and rain.

“It’s so cold.”

Daniel looked at the woman. She didn’t look crazy, just wet. He was the crazy one.

“Here, take my jacket.” Daniel slipped off his soggy sports jacket and held it out to her.

“Hurry,” she said. She turned and began to run down the muddy road, into the darkness, barefoot. That was crazy.

Enjoy!

Muslim in Rome

Cedar City Art Walk Image 6.

Muslim in Rome
It can be painful when a pilgrimage is not all it was supposed to be.

Tired, alone and far from home, the Eternal City, can be an unforgiving place. Religious tradition may favor the Catholics in Rome, yet Islam entertains apocryphal hope for ultimate victory in the struggle for religious domination. Global politics and religious ideology lose their import when you are sick and hungry. With no place left to go, a bridge over the Tiber River is as good a place as any to end a pilgrimage.

For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2015/06/09/suu-features-exhibition-stories-tell/28764023/

Cedar City Artwalk.
Summer art students visit the Cedar City Artwalk.

Summer art students stop by to visit my show. You can too 🙂

Cedar City Artwalk
Art students read the stories about the photos.

The Stories may be as good as the photos–maybe better 🙂 ArtWalkFlyer

Woman In Paris

Cedar City Art Walk Image 5.

Her eyes speak volumes.
A woman rests from her burdens.

It was raining in Paris that morning as I sought shelter beneath the balustrades and terraces of the Louvre Palace. My timing was off. The museum was closed. I was not alone in my disappointment as I watched a woman trudge beneath our columned shelter and sit, wearily, against stone. She was not present with the host of tourists surrounding this space. She looked beyond, focused on something my eyes could not see. Trouble, sadness, sorrow, suffering. I could not know. Yet, in her eyes I could see the reflection of ghosts in Paris. On this day, I would not see the Mona Lisa smile.

For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2015/06/09/suu-features-exhibition-stories-tell/28764023/

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Storm over Paradise, Samoa

IMG_0900_Samoa_web
A calm before the storm settles over the bay on Upolu, Samoa.

The air was heavy, oppressive. Dark clouds rose above a steel horizon. The humid air made it hard to breathe. I took a shower that morning, but never dried off, still dripping. The clear ocean called to me, but a storm was coming. I could feel it in the quiet slowness. No one was in the water. Most of the locals were resting on mats in their fales. A Samoan home, or fale, is mostly built with bamboo and thatch, allowing maximum airflow. The air was not moving.

 

IMG_5144_5_6_clouds
Storm clouds bloom over Upolu Island, Samoa.

I watched them come, the dark clouds. The weight of wet-hot weather pushing, pushing down on my chest, holding me in place as I watched them grow, the clouds. I wanted to lie down and not move, sleep until the dark dream dispersed.

 

When the rains came, it was sudden, as if the ocean moved onshore. The sky was water. The air was liquid. The drops were waves, crashing to earth. The sound rose and swelled, drowning all other sounds.

 

Then, quiet.

 

IMG_0454_Waving Boy
Talofa lava–a young boy waves in greeting.

The rains ceased. Clouds moved on, a pleasant breeze chasing them. The sun emerged from hiding. Children were the first to awaken, laughing and playing in streams winding back to sea. Steam rose above fluorescent flora. The world sparkled with brilliant color.

 

IMG_5985_Waterfall
Rain and mountains make for spectacular waterfalls in Samoa.

I witnessed a transformation of the island, Samoa, sea, sky, land. What I didn’t see, couldn’t see then, was the change Samoa wrought in my heart, not until I left that place.

 

I have not been back, yet, I long to return, to reconcile the man I am with man I hope to be, in paradise.

Muse 4–Noir Episodic

Franklin Jones was no stranger to trouble. It followed him around like a storm chaser. The wind was always blowing in the wrong direction to catch a break.

DSC00699_700_701_BrickWall_CroppedIt was 3:00 am on the corner of Hollywood and Wilcox and Franklin could hear the music inside the Playhouse Club beating to the throbbing inside his head. She was in there. He knew she was in there. He wanted to go inside. He needed to see her.

Franklin exhaled slowly. He could see his breath and shivered. People say it never gets cold in Hollywood, but Franklin knew that hell does freeze over. He looked up at the starless sky and cursed his luck.

“Don’t fall in love with a singer.”

“Jeff?”

DSC00677_8_9_Open DeliJeff’s lips were still moving. He’d been mouthing the words. He was standing on the corner of Hollywood and Wilcox watching Franklin. He shivered.

“Jeff!” She said it again. Jeff’s eyes rose from the glare of the laptop, straining to focus. “It’s three-o-clock in the morning. What are you doing?” Jill stood in the doorway of his office.

The woman pushed open the door to the Playhouse Club. He recognized her immediately. She winked. Jeff closed his laptop.

“Writing.”

“Writing?”

“Yes, writing.”

Jill took a step closer. “I’m worried about you.” She only came as close as the edge of his desk. “I think we should talk about it.”

Jeff stood up. “I can’t. Not yet.”

The only light in the room was moonlight. Jeff stood in the dark. He could see the shape of her body through her nightgown.

“This isn’t like your other stories,” she said.

“I know. It’s different.”

“You’re different.”

“She’s perceptive, I’ll give her that.” The woman stood in a corner of the room. She still had her dancing shoes on.

“What are you doing here?” Jeff demanded.

“I’m scared, Jeff,” a glint of hurt touching Jill’s eyes.

“Not you,” Jeff said.

The woman in the corner laughed. “Love triangle, Jeffrey?”

“This is not a love triangle.”

“Who are you talking to?” Jill demanded.

Jeff looked at the woman. He had the sense she was beautiful, and, dangerous. He looked back at Jill. She stood there in the moonlight, afraid, vulnerable. They had been together a long time. He wanted them to be together forever. He took a step around the desk and reached to touch her.

Jill stepped back.

Jeff sighed.

“Jill.”

“Who, Jeff?”

Jeff shifted his weight to one foot. He was suddenly very tired.

“My…muse.”

“I’m flattered, Jeffrey.” Jeff held his breath and scowled at the woman.

Jill folded her arms across her chest. “Your muse is a… woman?”

Jeff shifted his weight again. “Yes…but…”

“You used to say I was your muse.”

“You are.”

She doesn’t believe me.

“It’s…just…this story.”

A tear drop caught moonlight in the corner of her eye. “What happened, Jeff? What is happening to us?”

“Nothing’s happening to us.”

“Clearly something is going on with your relationship,” the woman said.

“Be quiet,” Jeff barked.

“She’s here right now?”

“No…” Jeff waved his arms in frustration. “Yes…I guess.” He put his arms on Jill’s shoulders. “You know I’m making this stuff up, right?”

She shrugged him off. “Don’t touch me.”

“But Jill…”

“You can sleep on the couch.” She turned and stormed out.

“How long?” Jeff called after her. She didn’t answer.

“Men are clueless,” the woman said.

“As if you would know.”

“Of course I know, Jeffrey. I’m your muse.” The woman sat down on Jeff’s leather couch, and crossed her legs.

Jeff sat back down at his desk. “Now what?” he said to himself.

“Give me a name, Jeffrey.”

The woman blended into the darkness of the couch. Jeff couldn’t make out her features. Moonlight glinted off her stiletto heals.

“Clara Malloy,” Jeff said. He’d been thinking about her name for a while.

“Clara Malloy,” the woman repeated, slowly. Her voice was soft and sad. She said her name with the melancholy angst of unfulfilled dreams and unrequited love.

Clara leaned into the moonlight. “Thank you, Jeff.” Her eyes were dark, shadowed. Her hair was black with glinting highlights. Jeff could tell her lips were full and moist and dark with lipstick. His eyes lingered, wanting more detail.

“You had better go,” he said.

“But…the story,” she said.

“It’s my story,” Jeff said.

“I’m telling it,” She said.

“Hello there, Joe.” Franklin Jones stood in the doorway pointing a gun at Jeff. “Clara.” Franklin tipped his hat.

“Frank,” Clara smirked.

“What’s going on?” Jeff demanded.

“I saw you outside the club,” Franklin said. “I followed you here.”

“You can’t do that?”

“She’s here. Isn’t she?”

“Who?”

“Charlotte.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You should write this down,” Clara said.

“She’s upstairs, isn’t she?” Franklin demanded.

“You’ve got this all wrong, Frank. Charlotte’s not here.”

Frank’s pearl handle .45 caliber glinted in the moonlight. “You’re lying to me, Joe.”

“Joe? My names’s not Joe. Are you nuts?”

“I saw you talking to her through the window, in her nightgown.”

Realization dawned on Franklin.

“You’re sleeping with her aren’t you?” Franklin pulled the lever back on his .45.

“Not tonight, I’m not.”

“Not ever.” Franklin pulled the trigger. The flash was blinding. The pain was exquisite.

“You should have written this down.”

“Daddy.”

Jeff opened his eyes. Liquid pooled on the keys of his laptop.

Blood.

“You’re drooling.”

Five-year-old Hayleigh stuck her finger into the stream of fluid oozing from the corner of Jeff’s mouth and giggled. Jeff sat up. The QWERTY keyboard checkered his face. “It’s time to take me to pre-school.”

“Where’s Mommy?”

“Not here.”

Jeff stood up. His head hurt. His heart hurt. He checked his body for bullet holes.

“Where?”

“I dunno.” Hayleigh scooted out of his office. “Let’s go.”

Jeff tried to wipe the saliva from his keyboard. He wasn’t sure it would still work..

“I’m losing it,” Jeff whispered as he followed Hayleigh out of the room.

“You should be writing,” Clara said.

Jeff looked back. The room was empty.

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