Saturday, January 14, 2017

Derecho Makes an Appearance

Fixating on an over-sized wood
spider hiding in between the green nylon
rain fly and the gray tent, my eyes
open as hazy humidity
builds on the rocky pathway.

By noon, my clothes are drenched
from the absence of rain
burns on my skin
reach forbidden flesh.

The haze hangs crooked
over the hemlock
and something chirps
unseen, fire snaps and spits
male June bugs buzz
and slam around the LED lantern
they come uninvited
like Derecho

You take your freshly whittled
spear made from a dead tree branch
jab the juicy June bug
fire roast him
to see if he would POP.

Derecho lumbers
through the woods, rips
the sky open, plays with  high
voltage, exposes pink and violet
battle scars from warring
cold and warm fronts.

The tired, almost retired Derecho,
comes to camp in the valley nestled
next to the Susquehanna
River where he’s not
welcome to warm by the fire
that still burns.

The fire recedes,  the rain stops
clouds follow Derecho as he travels east
and fireflies blinkblinkblink
in between the rain fly and tent.

* According to NOAA, ( Derecho are widespread windstorms that typically spawn severe thunderstorms and windstorms.

Monday, January 9, 2017

WOW Look a Survey!

Who loves filling out surveys? I know I do! And do I have a surprise for you... it's a survey.

One of my classes this term is to learn how to market my books/writing. One of the biggest and most effective ways is to find who your potential audience would be. And-  I have no idea but I have a starting point which is better than last week when I felt like I threw my stories in the air hoping for someone to catch it and love it.

So I created a survey, through Survey Monkey. It's ten questions and it will not take very long. It is also anonymous, your IP address will not be recorded. I am not selling the information but only using it to market my writing better.

If you have a few minutes, please take the What and How You Read Survey

Thank you.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Hello 2017

I don't know about you, but I am ready for 2016 to end. It has been one hell of a year for the world at large.  I don't need to rehash it out for you all because most of us lived it. Personally, 2016 was a pretty good year. We did a shit load of traveling: Washington DC, the Jersey Shore, Rocky Gap camping, and other trips. So for me, it was a damn good year.

I don't know what 2017 will bring, because as always the future is uncertain. I suppose that is not very reassuring but every year brings uncertainty and the only thing to do is wake up and just continue moving forward.

For me, 2017 will bring good things. I will finally graduate college. I get to go to the ceremony in May of 2017. My last day of classes is July 4, 2017 (and isn't that so fitting, so beautiful?). We will finally own our home. And who knows? Maybe I will find my place in this world... though I think I am starting to realize my place in this world. I feel like I am on the cusp of something- something big.

But I feel that there is a change in the world. Not just the US but the whole world. 2016 set the stage for something and I don't know what. Something is happening in the world. Something that will affect all of us. It's not paranoia but a weird feeling I can't seem to shake.

Lastly, I am saddened that I was not invited to read a poem at Trump's Inauguration. I know I am not "A" list talent. Fuck I am not even "B" list talent, I am more like "Z" list talent. I have given some thought (why? I don't know sometimes I like daydreaming about random events)

If I were asked to read a poem at his inauguration, I would do it, only if I could read,Pennies of a Nation. So here come the haters. I didn't vote for him. I don't care for his actions or language. However, I think this poem is important. I think it is important to share with the world. Because words matter. This poem matters. And I would read this poem at his inauguration because I want to share the message with him, with congress, with my fellow Americans, with the world.

Don't you think it would be some kind of olive branch if I was asked to read that poem?  I am more of a liberal minded person, I didn't vote for him, but I read a poem in spite of all that. Because I felt my words were important. And this is why I would do it.

Anyway, here's to 2017 and whatever you bring.  There's no turning back now.

Until next time... Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ten Miles to Home

The snow storm wasn’t supposed to start until much later. But since when do meteorologists get the weather right?  Neal surveyed the emptying parking lot of last minute shoppers brushing the snow off their cars, as the  twenty-four hour seven days a week  discount department store began to turn off the lights. Happy employees darted from the glass doors. wishing Merry Christmases and throwing snowballs at each other. The coworkers from his store were already pulling away from the parking spots, leaving rectangle blacktop patches in the white snow.

While warming his car, he called his wife, Starling, who no doubt waited for him to call and say he was coming home.

“How bad is it?” he asked and turned on the wiper blades.

“It’s okay, Penn Dot just went by. But it’s still coming down pretty good,” she said.

“Well I’m leaving now.”

“I don’t know what the mountain is like, but the highway is supposed to be passable. Are you sure you want to come home now? Maybe you could wait?”

“Where Starling? Everything is closed.  Anyway I should be fine. I’ll make it.”

“Drive safe, love you,” she said.

“I will.”

He hung up the phone and plugged it into the charger. Slipping his used Subaru into drive he started into the parking lot toward the main road. He just bought the car this past summer, for a bargain. The salesman said everything worked, but it had not snowed heavy since he bought it. This would be the first actual snow storm. Neal thought about his first Subaru, a little hatchback that plowed through snow easily. He smiled a little at the memory and turned left onto the main road, which was snow-covered and tire tracks were already fading into new snow.

Neal made his way on the way and got behind a plow truck.  The road was mostly empty except for plow trucks,  a few SUV’s and a single  car. The snow pummeled the windshield from the pinkish sky. And the lights on the plow truck only a car’s distance away looked like snow covered Christmas lights. He took a deep breath, the car held steady and continued on driving twenty miles an hour.

Primrose Mountain was not a large mountain, it reached about a third of a mile above sea level. The road over the mountain was the main artery that connected the once glorious coal and logging towns to the more developed town in the valley. It was also one of the few dead zones on the east coast, no cell service until he reached Meridian. Thousands of people traveled over Primrose everyday for work. But tonight, there was no one else on the mountain. As soon as Neal left the safety of the plow truck, he was alone on  the black curves of the mountain.  The trees were covered in snow and looked hand drawn as if a child just decided to put trees in their snow picture. The roads were white and untouched. His four ways blinked casting an orange glow over the snow.   Just ten more miles and then he would be in the outskirts of Meridian. Ten more miles and he would almost be home.

The snow swirled and pelted the car. He dropped his speed to fifteen. The car started to slide a bit. He slowly corrected it, but it kept slipping the further he traveled up the mountain. Gripping the steering wheel tighter, he felt the car slip even more. Then from the blinding snow,  a deer stood in the rood. He was already going slow and let his foot off the gas.

“Come on! Go!” He said to himself. But the deer stood there.

As he turned the wheel to go around the animal, he lost his traction in the snow and he began to veer to the right. Neal tried to correct by drifting a full stop, and turning the wheel the other way. He misjudged the road. He had no idea he was already traveling in the center of the road. The car edged over the side mountain. It rolled over. Glass broke and splattered all over him. The air bags deployed as it turned over again. Then it stopped on its roof. His chest hurt. His nose gushed blood.

His body began to numb. His face. His fingers. His brain thudded and pounded. He thought about Starling and when they first met all those years ago in a snow storm. Their wedding day. The birth of their child. The Christmases where they were poor and could not spend more than ten dollars. To their lives got better over the years, enjoying vacations and traveling to new places. She always said she would be the one to go first. How wrong she was. What was she going to do? How will she handle his death? He should have got the larger life insurance policy.  His thoughts of Starling slipped away as he sunk into blackness.

It has been hour since he called. Starling paced the living room, constantly checking the time and the driveway. She would go out and stand in the snow looking toward the road, only to see nothing, no head lights or even the plow truck. There was silence all around her even the owls decided it best to stay snug. He should have called off, but the storm wasn’t supposed to start until after midnight. In fact up till almost four they were calling for midnight. Then at five, the clouds just opened up and spewed snow.  He had the Subaru. He should be here by now. She checked the time, she turned up the heat and went back outside until her feet were numb. Nothing.

Is he okay? What if he wasn’t? When should she call the cops? Would they care? Where was he? What if he died? What then? How would she tell their daughter? How could she possibly go on? She would have to though. What he did he say about his funeral; did he want one? She couldn’t remember.  Maybe their life together wasn’t always the greatest but she would never change it.

Neal started to come back from the darkness. His eyes were blurry, his face and chest still hurt.  Someone had undone his seat belt and tried to pull him from the car. Neal winced at the tugging. It was a man. A large man with a white beard. Of course it was white, it was snowing out. Neal couldn’t keep his eyes open and went to close them again.

“I wouldn’t do that, try to stay with me,” the man said and Neal opened his eyes again.

It must be a firefighter. But where was the flashing lights? The forest around was dark and snowy and the only lights came from the headlights. Some where he heard jingle bells. The fire trucks had to be on the road.  Maybe Penn Dot saw the tire tracks and called the fire department.

The man took him and placed him laying down on the back of something hard, something wooden. Neal blinked and let his eyes adjust to the faint light. The man wore a long red parka and was old, much older than Neal. He was in a sleigh and pulling the sleigh were two horses.

The man wrapped Neal in various blankets, warmth started to flood Neal’s fingers and toes.  The man took of his gloves and gathered snow from beside the sleigh. He made a ball and seemed to stare at it as if he were looking at something. Then without speaking, he tossed the snow ball over to the side and placed his cold hands on Neal’s body. Neal felt his blood start to move and flow. The pain in his nose seemed to vanish and his chest began to move up and down without pain. It was if this man were vacuuming all the pain away.

“Just rest now. I will get you home,” he said and went to the front of the sleigh. He put his gloves back on and slapped the reins against the horse’s backside. The slap resounded through the forest.

They moved swiftly through the woods.  The runners swooshed over the fresh snow. It almost felt like they were gliding across the snow. Or maybe even flying. The snow fell around them but it never seemed to stay inside the sleigh. The air was arctic and brisk but fresh and invigorating at the same time. He didn’t think about the accident or the deer in the road. He thought of nothing.

Two hours after Neal called, a bright light flashed outside and the power went out across the neighborhood. Starling’s heart sunk and she wrapped up in a sweater and rushed outside. Through the whipping snow, some neighbors started lighting candles as she could see the faint glow coming from their dark windows. Then in the distance, she heard jingle bells. Jingle bells? The bells came closer. She turned on her flashlight, which only cut a narrow beam in the snow and saw the glint of the horse’s eyes in the light down the road.

Then  the sleigh stopped in front of their small house. A large man with a white beard and red parka got out of the sleigh. He unwrapped Neal from the blankets. Neal sat up and looked around.

“Starling?!” He said and almost fell out of the sleigh. The man in the red parka caught him and helped him. Neal ran to Starling and squeezed her. Her wet tears touched his face.

“What happened, are you okay?”

“I don’t really know. There was a deer in the middle of the road and I went over the side,” he said in between kisses.

The man in the red parka got back into his sleigh. Starling went over and hugged, “how could I thank you? You saved him.”

“Anyone would have done the same,” he said.

“No they wouldn’t. Not in this weather,” she said. “Please come by tomorrow and have dinner with us.”

“Thank you, but I can’t. You take care of each other,” the man in red parka and said.

Starling went back to Neal as the man in the red parka slapped the reins against the horses and they pulled away. Within moments, the jingle bells fell silent and the only sound was the sound of snowflakes smacking into each other. Once the jingle bells faded, the power came back on and snow-covered Christmas lights flooded the dark street once again.

“Am I dead?” Neal asked still not believing what just happened since he left work.

“If your dead than so am I because this is real.”

Starling and Neal shared another a kiss and looked to the sky as a spot in the sky flashed like a camera.

“That guy looked like...” Starling started.

“Santa Claus.”

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Santa's Shorts by JM Scott FREE until Dec 21 2016

Hello all, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.

It is pretty weird as an atheist, I get excited about Christmas. I don't celebrate it as the birth of Jesus but a happy time of year that falls around the winter solstice. Honestly though Christmas is about tree decorating and Christmas carols, sending cards and and hanging out with family and friends. There are great memories associated with Christmas for me. And that is what I celebrate. I like the tradition of Christmas.

Anyway... so as my gift to you, Santa's Shorts is FREE on all markets until Dec 21, 2016. It is a collection of Christmas short stories that focus on the theme of family. There is also some Christmas poetry interspersed in the book as well.

Here is a sample poem from the book:

Broken Christmas Carol

Lights twinkle on boughs splendid
To remind us of a star ascended
To signal a Savior’s humble birth
Bringing hope for peace on earth

Choirs singing carols, the soundtrack of this day.
One can not help not to jovial
troubles sleep if only for a day
visions of Victorian Christmases and
three ghosts reminding us through Scrooge the love of Christmas

Frosted beauty framed by falling snow
Flickering Fireplace light making her face glow
No matter the joy in the air,
Or the overflow of cheer.
The season is cracked and broken,
Empty heart for she's not here.

Thank you for supporting me, where ever you are in the world. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season.  I love you all.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

December 14

for Sandy Hook Elementary 

It’s December
go to school
learn something

today starts normal
then he comes
without warning

fear is fired
from the smoking gun
I want to cry

my teacher dies
and so does
someone else I know

he looks right
at me
his eyes are death

we all cry
we’re all just little kids
this is not a game

a bullet comes...
Santa, can you hear me?
I don’t want toys no more

My Christmas wish
go home
see my mom and dad

I look at death’s
long face
and big crazy eyes

why did you
do this to me
why do all the tears fall

why do you hate me
I don’t know you so
why do I walk to the light?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This is OUR America, Not Trump's America

Let the title wash over you, breathe it in and exhale it out.  This is the catch phrase of the day "Trump's America" the apostrophe "s" denotes ownership. Since when did that happen, and where is my payment for the sale? But this is supposed to our America, not your America or my America.

Regardless of who you voted for, this is our America. There 535 people in Washington DC that are supposed to represent US. Make them accountable. If you know how government works then you should be pressuring the congress.  But maybe I am just a dumbass (because I might as well call myself names since that is what a lot of people do, on both sides of the aisle. Name calling- because that will get you far in life, poopy head).

I was not exit polled. So unless a poll is done for every single person that voted, no one can extrapolate anything. Because this election is nothing like other elections. 

I am sick of being pigeon holed. I am Caucasian, college educated, female, rural dwelling (my mail is delivered in a vehicle not in a mail truck and live in the heart of coal country Pennsylvania) and I voted for Hillary Clinton. OH MY GOD, you mean someone is an OUTLIER. But of course how would anyone know that? Just lump everyone together.

Speaking of lumping together. I don't need a safe space.  I am not protesting. I am not a millennial. I am really sort of between Gen X and millennials. I never got a participation trophy. I don't even know what one is.  I believe in human rights and if that makes me a liberal elite then so be it (by the way it is a liberal elite?)

I am one those strange people that listen to and think with my own thoughts. OH MY GOD! WHAT A HORRID PERSON.

I can actually read news and discern for myself the level of biasness in a political piece. I am not loyal to any party and as you know I will say shit about both parties.

According to my local paper, 72% people in my county voted for Trump. That means 28% voted for Clinton, Johnson or Stein.

You what to know what it's like here?  Most people in my county do not  make even close to the median income. Industries include logging and coal mining. Many mines are closed yet there are still some that run. The town I live in is dead. Downtown is a strip of empty buildings, a pizza place, a dentist, a couple of stores, a Chinese place, some offices and beauty salons. There are two grocery stores. In between my town and others, there is nothing but trees and mines. There are no good paying jobs in the area. Most jobs you have to either travel over a mountain or drive to Clearfield and Dubois. You have crappy jobs pared with unaffordable healthcare premiums and deductibles, what are you left with? People around here just see the Washington fat cats  while they have nothing.  So when DT says he's going to bring jobs back, reduce regulations on coal these people listen and they believe him.  Unfortunately, the democrat party did not appeal to these people like Trump did.  What they see is the democrat party taking care of everyone else but them.

Now, this is based on my own observations in my own microcosm in Pennsylvania, which is vastly different from other parts of the state. I am not defending DT or the people who voted for him, but I thought maybe people on a larger scale should understand their point of view.

Am I happy Trump won? No. Would I like to say he was a great president? Yes, I would. I hope that he does renegotiate better trade deals so we all win, but no one can say either way. DT is unpredictable, scary yes but that also means we cannot predict anything about him.  I don't condone his language or many of his plans,  but I like to have faith in the congress and checks and balances.

Now, is the time to write letters to your congress people, Make them represent you and your district. Let your voice be heard. And with the internet, it makes it even easier to contact your congress person. I have already sent letters to raise minimum wage, to keep abortion legal and keep Social Security public. Maybe it doesn't seem much to you;  I am one person and at least I am doing something.