Mar 30, 2012

Flash Me Friday

The View

It was the view that brought him to this place, high up on the mountain, well above the tree line. The world was literally at his feet, spread out before him like a fine tapestry.

He took his time building his home, he was here to stay and he wanted it perfect. It blended seamlessly into the landscape. You had to really know what you were looking for to be able to find it. The magic he expelled was totally worth it, though it took him several weeks to recover.

Once it was established it took very little magic to maintain the climate inside his home, one that allowed the waterfalls and fountains to run without danger of freezing over and his garden to flourish. He did enjoy his creature comforts.

The other reason he picked this site was its inaccessibility. He was seven hundred and thirty-three years old and he was fed up with being constantly challenged by wizardlings looking to make a name for themselves. It would take a determined person indeed to find him all the way up here.

He lived peaceably for many years, enjoying the company of his cats and the view of the world below. As he was meditating while looking out over his view one day, the answer to a problem he’d had many years ago came to him all at once. He turned from his view in favour of his books, pouring over the dusty tomes to confirm his solution.

When he was finished, having solved his problem, he sighed in satisfaction and turned once again to the tranquillity of his view. Astonishment had him dropping his glass of wine. The fine glass shattered on the stone floor, wine spraying the edge of his robe. Invisible servants silently cleaned up the mess while the wizard stared at what lay before him.

There were intruders on his mountain.

Far below there were crude huts being built. There was the movement of people coming and going, and a flock of sheep dotting the upper hills like clouds in a sky of green. The audacity of it disturbed him on many levels, but in the end he allowed them to stay, at least as long as they came no further than the hills the sheep grazed upon. Though the lights at night were somewhat annoying, they did not impede his view. It was not worth the journey down the mountain to deal with them.

More time passed. The wizard kept an eye on the people below and was not pleased to see them continue to spread upwards. He caused the ground to shake, toppling their crude dwellings, scattering the sheep along the hills. It was a warning, but they did not heed it. Instead they rebuilt their homes and gathered up the sheep once more.

As harvest time approached the wizard cast another spell, this time causing a hail storm to destroy their crops. Although a few of the people left, most of them stayed, gathering what they could from the stricken fields and foraging farther up the mountain. They began cutting timber and floating it down the river to trade for food.

How dare they cut down his trees! The wizard was losing his patience. He cast another spell, and winter arrived with swift deadliness. The wind caused the formation of high ridges of snow which the wizard sent racing towards the settlement in the form of an avalanche.

Though some died the others seemed undeterred. They reinforced their homes using stone and planted their fields anew when the spring came. More timber was cut. While he admired their tenacity, he also had to wonder just what would it take to get rid of these pests?

At last the wizard made the journey down the mountain to the village that seemed to have sprung up over night. In the guise of a traveller, he stopped at the ale house for a pint of cider and found himself sitting at a table with one of the farmers.

“This region has seen much in the way of trouble,” he said. “It is a wonder that you are brave enough to remain.”

“The soil is rich and fertile,” the farmer told him. “Our sheep grow fat on the grass of the hills and timber is in great demand in the cities to the south. It will take more than a little inconvenience to drive us from this land.”

“It is said there is a wizard on this mountain. A great and powerful wizard who is angry that people have chosen to live here.”

The farmer laughed. “Old man, you need to find some other way of spending your time besides weaving fanciful tales. There’s no such thing as wizards.”

“Then there is nothing I can say that will move you from this place?”

“Nothing,” the famer said.

“So be it,” the wizard said, and vanished before the farmer’s eyes.

That night he stood in the tower of his home and drew up magic from the earth around him. Raising his arms high, he cast his spell. A deadly fog slithered down the mountain, filling the valley.

He regretted taking all those lives, but he did try to warn them. The fog would be thorough in its task. When it lifted in the morning, the wizard would once again have an unobstructed view.

Mar 27, 2012

Prophets and Prophecies - Part Five

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was a princess of Troy, daughter of Priam and Hecuba. Like Helen of Troy, she was astonishingly beautiful. Legend has it that the god Apollo fell in love with her and granted her the gift of prophecy. Now able to see into the future, she saw a time when Apollo would help the Greeks destroy Troy. Cassandra then refused his love, and Apollo cursed her so that no one would believe her predictions.

The first mention of Cassandra as a prophetess concerns her brother Paris. When Paris was born there was a prediction that he would cause the destruction of Troy. Heeding this prophecy, Priam and Hecuba had him taken from the city and abandoned in the wilderness. He was saved by a she-wolf, however, and and grew up as a shepherd, eventually returned to Troy. While in Troy Paris entered the temple dedicated to Zeus where Cassandra recognized him as her brother. Apparently forgetting the original prediction, King Priam welcomed him home.

The beginning of the Trojan War took place with the abduction of Priam’s sister, Hesione. Cassandra was already predicting the tragic end to the Trojan War, but because of her curse no one believed her. Priam, judging her to be insane, had her locked away to avoid any scandal – although he received regular reports on all her prophetic utterances.

Magnificent Rome herself is being broken [by] her own wealth. I speak certain [words], but no belief; Once the truthful maenad (Cassandra) ought to have been held by the people of Pergama and not worthless words of hardship: she alone said Paris to be causing the ruin of Troy, she alone said that a horse treacherous for Troy was creeping. That prophetic frenzy was useful for her fatherland, that [was useful] for her father: the futile speech proved the gods to be true.
Elegies Book III. 14, poem XIII, by Propertius

Near the end of the Trojan War, Cassandra prophesized the danger posed by the Trojan horse but her warnings were ignored and the Greek soldiers hidden inside the horse were able to capture the city. During the fall of Troy, Cassandra was dragged out of the temple of Athena where she had sought protection, and raped by Ajax the Lesser. She was then given as a war prize to Agamemnon.

She returned to Mycenae with Agamemnon, and bore him twin sons: Teledamus and Pelops. Although she tried to warn him of the danger, once again her prophecies were ignored and were both murdered by Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife and Aegisthus, her lover.

The term "Cassandra Syndrome" was coined by the French Philosopher Gaston Bachelard in 1949, and is applied in cases where valid alarms are ignored or disbelieved. The syndrome applies most often in psychology and politics or science.

For anyone who is further interested in Cassandra’s story, I highly recommend Marion Zimmer Bradley’s novel, The Firebrand, which presents the story from Cassandra’s point of view.

Mar 26, 2012

Metameric Monday

metameric ~ of, like or pertaining to serial division or segmentation of body

I mentioned on Facebook on Saturday that I wanted a do-over of that particular day, but you wanna know something? If someone offered me a do-over for the year so far I wouldn’t say no. Unreasonably mild winter and early spring aside, 2012 has not impressed me thus far.

Somewhere, I’m not sure where, I read either the blurb for a novel or a short story about these energy waves bombarding the Earth that caused the suicide rate to jump. I don’t know if it was some militant group behind it, or aliens cutting down the population before invading, but the point was it was making all these people feel the same bone-chilling despair. I’ve heard from so many people about what a creative black hole this year has been so far that I have to wonder if there might not be something to that story after all. Not that we’re being bombarded with psychic waves that are making us suicidal, but that there’s something out there affecting our creativity. Food for thought.

I thought I was doing pretty good last week until I came to the instalment for Water. *shakes head sadly*. I hit a drought where Water is concerned. I don’t know what the problem is. This is one of the drawbacks of doing a serial. There’s no wiggle room. If this were a NaNo novel I could just skip ahead in the story. But it’s not, so I can’t.

I’m not losing any sleep over it though, at least not yet. I hit snags in the other two Elemental stories, just not quite so early in the story. I blame the kids. Who was it in the entertainment industry that warned about working with animals or children? Anyway, all I can do when the snags hit is soldier on.

Please note that I’ve updated my What I’m Working On page (on Random Writings) and my Reading Challenge Page (on Random Thoughts).

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Five of Prophets and Prophecies, Cassandra. On Random Writings I’m going to try another book review. If you’re an author and would like me to review your book, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com. I promise I’ll put your book at the top of my list. :-)

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Forty-five of Shades of Errol Flynn, in which hopefully Ellen and Jessica get a chance to chat. And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday This will be my second attempt at chapter ten of Water (on Random Thoughts)

Friday On Passion For Poetry (Random Writings) there will be a poem, but I haven’t decided whether or not it will be mine or not. ;-) And on Random Thoughts I’ll have another flash piece prompted by a picture.

Mar 23, 2012

Flash Me Friday


The thing I like best about Canada Day is that Mama always wants to visit her old home town and we always end up in this big park on the waterfront. There's an arts and crafts show there, and games, and stuff going on at the band shell. Mama keeps the twins and Frankie with her to show off to her friends for awhile and I get to wander around by myself. It's really great.

The best thing about this park is its trees. They're not scraggly and dust covered, like we get in the city, these trees are huge. When I was little I used to think that if you climbed to the top of one you could touch the sky.

I think Mama's artist friend, Gordon, must have been to this park. A lot of his paintings have trees like these in them. He was always sketching stuff. He's the one that showed me how to draw. I like drawing but the paper and stuff is expensive. Gordon used to give me paper sometimes. He's gone now, moved away somewhere.

He did a painting of me once, he turned me into an elf. It was really neat, but it didn't look much like me. I mean, the girl in the painting had my long blonde hair and blue eyes, and she was even dressed in my favourite clothes, my purple Northern Reflections sweatshirt and green leggings, the ones I'm wearing today. But the elf Alysha was a lot prettier than me and I don't think I'm so thin. She was looking out from behind a big tree, like the ones in this park. I wonder whatever happened to that picture?

It's really crowded today, but that's okay. I'm used to crowds. And these crowds are better than city crowds, 'cause at least people here say "Sorry" if they bump into you.

Today I decided to follow the boardwalk from one end to the other. I don't know why they call it a board walk, it's made out of bricks, not boards. Anyway, I've already been up to the harbour end of it, now I'm going to the beach end.

There's a lot of crazy people in the water today. Crazy 'cause Lake Ontario is always freezing, even in the summer. Not that I can swim or anything. Can't afford the lessons. We can't afford a lot of things but we do okay. Better than a lot of people we know. Least Mama's not on Welfare.

Uh, oh. I know that tone. If someone doesn't do something about those kids on the toddler slide, one of them's going to start crying.

I wonder where the parents are? There's a bunch of people standing around talking, and there's a lady in a lawn chair with a whole bunch of stuff around her, but she looks more like she's waiting for someone. I guess it's up to me.

"What's the matter?" I ask, going up to the slide.

The three little kids look at me like I'm nuts or something.

"Maybe I can help."

The little girl in a pink shorts set starts sniffling again. "Jeffy throwed my ball away."

"Did not Lizzie!" the little boy dressed in green piped up.

"Okay," I said quickly before they started up again. "You can't see from up there, but the ball's just rolled under the slide. I'll get it for you."

It had to be the pinkest ball I've ever seen. I guess Lizzie must have a thing for pink, like Barbie.

"There you go," I said, handing it back to Lizzie.

"Would you play with us?" Lizzie asked. She had a real death grip on that ball.

"Well," I looked around to see if any angry parents were in sight. I can't believe no one's keeping an eye on these kids. Maybe people in a small town don't mind their kids playing with strangers.

"I guess I could play for a little bit. Why don't we take turns with the ball?"

I took the ball back from Lizzie and made them sit side by side on the slide. Mama always said that every one has a special talent, and I guess this is mine. I've always been real good with little kids. I've had a lot of practice with Frankie and the twins. I may only be eleven, but Mama's friend Maisie says I'm real grown up for my age.

I tossed the ball real careful to Jeffy, then Lizzie, then to the little girl that wasn't talking.

"Hold your hands out to catch the ball," I reminded Lizzie. She kept letting it bounce off her chest and giggling.

"No," I reminded Jeffy. He kept trying to steal the ball from the others. "It's her turn now."

"You can do it, I know you can." I threw it to Lizzy, who actually caught it. "Way to go, Lizzy!"

If we come here next year, I can bring the twins to this slide. They'll love it. And Frankie can ride the rocket swings.

"Alysha!" Uh, oh. The sound is faint over all the noise, but I'd know it anywhere. That's Mama's voice. I wonder how long she's been calling.

"Sorry, guys,” I tell the kids on the slide. "I've gotta go." I hand the ball back to Lizzie and make tracks. It's not a good idea to keep Mama waiting.

Mar 22, 2012

Post Delay

Sorry, my friends. I didn't get the next installment written last night. Please check back this afternoon.

Mar 21, 2012

Mar 20, 2012

Prophets and Prophecy - Part Four
the Pythia


Pythia, more commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the priestess at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The earliest account of the origin of the Delphic oracle is provided in the Homeric Hymn to Delphic Apollo, which recent scholars date to within 580-570 BC.

It is widely believed that the oracle was originally part of the worship of the earth-goddess Gaia. According to Greek literature, Gaia incarnated in the form of a great serpent, or Python, in order to communicate with her people.

Additionally, many scholars believe that the Python's death at the hand of Apollo symbolized the change in oracles at Delphi. The oracular liaison remained female, even though the deity behind her became male. Thus the Pythia became a vehicle for Apollo's will to be known to those on earth.

Pythia was not one person, but the title of every priestess delivering the prophecies. During the height of the oracle's popularity, as many as three women served as Pythia, with two taking turns in giving prophecy and another kept in reserve.

The women chosen to become the Pythia came from a guild of priestesses at the temple and were required to have led a pure life and be of good character. Although some were married, upon assuming their role as the Pythia, the priestesses ceased all family responsibilities, marital relations, and individual identity.

At the beginning, when there was only one priestess Pythia , the prophecies were given once per year, on the 7th day of Vitsios Month (end of February beginning of March). Later, at the peak time, the oracles were pronounced on the seventh day of each month, except for the three winter months.

Pythia sat on a bronze tripod over a chasm from which vapours rose. The tripod was a ritual offering vessel, the bowl of which is held over a fire. The bowl of the tripod was the space between earth and heaven, joining the mundane and the spiritual worlds and through which divine communion could proceed. The fire of the transmutation, in the Pythia's case, was spiritual rather than material, and perhaps symbolised the rising fumes which caused the Pythia to 'sacrifice' her ordinary humanity and become a vehicle or conduit for the divine to enter the world. The Pythia, inhaling the vapours, entered into a trance, from which she uttered cryptic answers to the questions posed to her.

The tripod was concealed in a secret space, available only to the Pythia. The priests and petitioners remained outside the concealed space, hearing her words when they came forth. Consultations were limited to one day per month, and records indicate that on this day the Pythia was so busy that three shifts were required to handle all requests, and three women were required to be the Pythia in turn.

Until recently it was thought that the Pythia’s supposed frenzied state could not have been induced by toxic gases rising from cracks in the ground because excavations had found no traces of such fissures. However, in 2001 a team of scientists discovered evidence of the presence of ethylene, a potential hallucinogen, in the ancient temple’s local geology and nearby springs. Thus it is believed that ethylene intoxication was probably the cause of the Pythia’s divinatory trances.

Plutarch believed that the Pythia's life was shortened through the service of Apollo. The sessions were said to be exhausting. At the end of each period the Pythia would be like a runner after a race or a dancer after an ecstatic dance. It clearly must have had a physical effect on the health of the Pythia.

The last recorded response was given in AD 393, when the emperor Theodosius I ordered pagan temples to cease operation. During this period the Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle in the Greek world, was well as one of the best-documented religious institutions of classical Greece.

Mar 19, 2012

Mutchkin Monday

mutchkin ~ old unit of liquid measurement equal to 3/4 of an imperial pint

Well . . . this past week wasn’t quite as bad as the last few weeks. I was only late with one serial post, and it wasn’t too badly late at that. Of course it helped that I wasn’t getting up to walk in the mornings so I could stay up extra late at night.

I have to admit I feel sorry for anyone who owns a ski resort. We had approximately two days of winter at the beginning of February and that was pretty much it. Now spring seems to be in full swing – unseasonably warm temperatures, buds appearing on the trees, lawns are starting to green up . . .

I feel cheated out of my winter. And it’s all my sister’s fault. That’s right, you heard me. My sister sent me this beautiful full length fur coat at the beginning of the winter and it was only cold enough to wear it once. Ergo, if she hadn’t sent me the coat, it would have been all kinds of cold throughout the winter. And we probably would have got some decent snow, too.

Aside from my regular blog posting last week, I manage to read two or three books and I did a little project for my former boss. And, at one point I even managed to update my Goodreads. I didn’t review many of the books in my update, but that was only because it would be too time consuming. I’ll get to it eventually. And now that it’s up to date I’ll have to make an effort to keep it that way.

I made the mistake of mentioning to my good friend Jamie that I was having an urge to start working on something completely new, and I might even have mentioned the specific idea, and her response was, “What are you waiting for, anyways?”. So, yeah. I got started on something new on the weekend. It’s going to end up as a trilogy, and unfortunately the SNI that has its hooks in me is the third of the three. Looks like I’ll be working on these backwards. *sigh*

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Four of Prophets and Prophecies, the Pythia. On Random Writings I’m going to try another book review. If you’re an author and would like me to review your book, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com. I promise I’ll put your book at the top of my list. :-)

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Chapter Forty-four of Shades of Errol Flynn, in which Howard needs to find a way to make good on his promise to let Jessica talk to Ellan. And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday In chapter ten of Water (on Random Thoughts) everyone will need to make adjustments as they settle in to their new quarters. I wonder what changes Dr. Arjun has made?

Friday On Passion For Poetry (Random Writings) there will be a poem, but not one of mine. ;-) And on Random Thoughts I’ll have another flash piece prompted by a picture.

Mar 16, 2012

Flash Me Friday

Okay, I confess. This is another flash I previously posted, however in its original form it was only around 350 words and this version is more than double that.

The Quest

They were hers by right of salvage but she was never meant to keep them. It’s not as though she was one of us, she just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I just thought it was safer to let her wear them while the rest of us voted on who was to inherit them.

You have to understand something about the ruby slippers. They were never meant for mere mortals. The only ones who can safely wear them for any length of time are we witches. The chaos that child has created in her world is nothing compared to the chaos she left behind when she took those slippers home with her. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It takes the power of six witches to keep Oz going. It can be done with four, but only if one of the four is wearing the ruby slippers. And it has to be the strongest witch wearing them. Here’s the secret of the ruby slippers – they’re sentient. They have a will of their own and it takes a great deal of power to control them, to bend them to our will.

We were already down to five witches (and one incompetent wizard) when the house landed. It served her right really, if Eastwitch hadn’t been teasing those pesky munchkins, she wouldn’t have been standing there in the first place. And the munchkins! How could they think they deserved the ruby slippers? It’s not as though they’d fit any of them. And between the lot of them they couldn’t raise enough power to swat a fly, there was no way they could have controlled them.

So I pretended the slippers couldn’t leave the child’s feet and then sent her to that fool wizard, who should never have been put in charge of the Emerald City in the first place, thinking he’d keep her out of trouble while we figured out who the new owner was to be. It took us a while to get through the tests and trials, but finally it was decided that the Westwitch was the most powerful witch left and she should have the slippers. The rest of us were a little low on energy, so it seemed easiest to just have the wizard send the girl West.

I don’t know when, exactly, the girl picked up her entourage, but they were pretty unimpressive – a ratty old scarecrow, a rusty tin man, and a mangy lion. The three of them had been a pain in the wizard’s ass for years, which is probably why he sent them along with the girl. That’s where it really all started to fall apart. Instead of telling her to deliver the ruby slippers to their rightful owner, the old coot turned it into some kind of mythic quest. I think he was just upset he’d been left out of the selection process.

The sense of direction of the girl and her friends was abysmal. They seemed to travel every which way but West. And it was like they were magnets for trouble. Didn’t they see the signs for the field of poppies?

Of course Westwitch got impatient, which she usually does, and tried to retrieve the slippers herself, just making matters worse. I tried to intervene but I was too late. The water had already been thrown and the girl was back in the Emerald City. That rumour that I was the one who told her about the power of the slippers? Lies, all lies.

We knew, of course, the moment the slippers left our dimension. The temperature must have dropped about ten degrees. A series earthquakes took care of Westwitch’s castle, which is a shame really, it would have come in handy as a summer getaway.

Since technically it was my fault we lost not one, but two witches – and the ruby slippers – I was the logical choice to retrieve them. Me, who doesn’t have an adventurous bone in her body. I was outfitted with suitable clothing and a tracking device, and here I am.

Now, can anyone tell me the way to Kansas?

Mar 13, 2012

Prophets and Prophecy - Part Three
Buddha Siddhartha Gautama

The Buddhist faith and way of life is a direct reflection of the doctrines and teachings of a single man. Siddhartha Gautama became Buddha following his own personal bodhi, or enlightenment. He used this newly acquired knowledge to instruct others in his faith on the means to reach both bodhi and Nirvana, which is the end of all suffering. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later. Traditional biographies of Gautama generally include numerous miracles, omens, and supernatural events.

Siddhartha Gautama was born about 583 BCE, in or near what is now Nepal. His father, King Suddhodana, was leader of a large clan called the Shakya. When his wife, Mahamaya, was expecting her first born, she had had a dream in which a baby elephant blessed her with his trunk, which was understood to be a very auspicious sign.

Legend has it that the child was born fully awake and able to speak. He told his mother he had come to free all mankind from suffering. He could stand and walked a few steps in each of the four directions, lotus blossoms rising in his footsteps. He was named Siddhartha, which means “he who has attained his goals.” Mahamaya died seven days after the birth.

King Shuddodana consulted astrologers regarding his son’s future and was told his son would either become a great ruler or a great holy man. The king, who preferred that his son rule after him, asked the astrologers what would cause his son to become a holy man. Their answer: “A decrepit old man, a diseased man, a dead man and a monk.”

Determined this would not happen, the king raised Siddhartha in luxury, shielding him from any signs of human suffering or anything religious. He placed his son in a magnificent walled estate with gardens, fountains, palaces, music, dancing and beautiful women. Siddhartha married Yasodhara at age sixteen, who gave him a son, Rahula. Throughout these early years of his life, he knew nothing of the sufferings that were taking place outside his enclosure.

At the age of twenty-nine, Siddhartha had had enough of seclusion, and demanded to be allowed outside of the palace. Despite his father’s efforts to continue to shield him, on one of his excursions beyond the walls he an old crippled man, a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic, or holy man. These sights are referred to as the four heavenly messengers. Inspired by them, Siddhartha left his family, wealth, and inheritance behind to begin a new life as an ascetic in hopes of ending the suffering of old age, disease, and death.

Siddhartha began by seeking out renowned teachers, who taught him many religious philosophies as well as how to meditate. He practiced strict asceticism for six years before realizing these practices were leading him nowhere. Just as luxury was not the true way, neither was austerity. Instead he chose a Middle Way between the two extremes.

According to legend, that night Siddhartha sat under a fig tree and meditated until dawn. He purified his mind of all distractions and opened himself up to the truth. He began recalling past lives and to see everything that was going on in the universe. He finally understood the answer to the question of suffering and attained enlightenment at the age of thirty-five, thus earning the title Buddha, or "Enlightened One".

For the next 45 years he travelled throughout northeast India teaching. Some of the fundamentals of the teachings attributed to Buddha are:

The Four Noble Truths: that suffering is an ingrained part of existence; that the origin of suffering is craving for sensuality, acquisition of identity, and annihilation; that suffering can be ended; and that following the Noble Eightfold Path is the means to accomplish this.

The Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

The Buddha emphasized ethics and correct understanding. He questioned everyday notions of divinity and salvation and stated that there is no mediator between mankind and the divine, and that he was only a guide and a teacher. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later

The Buddhist way is not said to have been divinely revealed, but to have come from an understanding of the true nature of the mind, which must be discovered by travelling the path guided by the Buddha's teachings.

For more information about Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, check the following:

The Wild Rose Dreamers Lodge
Fundamental Buddhism
The Life of Siddhartha Gautama

Mar 12, 2012

Meronym Monday

meronym ~ word whose relation to another is a part to the whole

So, Saturday I was whining complaining mentioning to a friend in an email how uncreative I’ve been feeling this month, and then yesterday in the shower I had a couple of characters start having a conversation. Now it’s bad enough that they were talking about the pivotal moment in their story, but it was the pivotal moment in a story that hasn’t even been written yet. *sigh* It’s one of a series of three connected stories that I’ve been toying with the idea of for ages but have put on the back-burner for now. And yes, I wrote this conversation down so I wouldn't forget it. In fact, I was in such a hurry to write it down that I couldn't even wait for my lap top to boot up - I just grabbed a pad and pencil.

Maybe this is a turning point. I hope so, ‘cause last week was this year’s worst failure yet. Tuesday evening I was scheduled to do a poetry reading at a local venue – and I totally missed it! In my own defense, I was asked back in September and never heard another peep about it. Normally I get some kind of warning e-mail or at the very least a notification on Facebook, but this time I got nothing. I found out about it when it was too late when someone tagged me in a post about it. I swear I thought it was in April!

I was also extremely late with not just one, but both of my serial posts. I’ve been late with one or the other before, but never both at the same. It wasn’t that I didn’t know where the stories were going or what happened next, there was just a problem getting the scenes out of my head and onto the computer screen.

I only managed to read one book last week, which surprises me ‘cause I thought it was more than that. Or maybe I’m thinking about the number of books I downloaded – which was considerably more than one. I’d say it was even more than twenty-one – I don’t keep the wifi on my Kindle on all the time because it uses up the battery too quickly, so the books sit on the Amazon web site until I turn it on, which I only do every couple of days and then turn it back off again. Yesterday when I turned it on it uploaded twenty-two books I had waiting. And I’ve been showing restraint!

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Three of Prophets and Prophecies, Buddha Siddharta Gautama. On Random Writings I’m going to try another book review. If you’re an author and would like me to review your book, drop me a line at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com. I promise I’ll put your book at the top of my list. :-)

Wednesday (on Random Writings) Jessica needs to start making plans . . . if she can manage to tear herself away from Prince Ewan. And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday In chapter nine of Water (on Random Thoughts) we’ll see how the children fared camping out overnight and what happens at day break.

Friday I think I’m finally ready for my Haiku Rant on Passion For Poetry. (Random Writings). And on Random Thoughts I’ll have another flash piece prompted by a picture.

Mar 9, 2012

Flash Me Friday

For my prompt this week I opened up a book of quotations at random, closed my eyes, and point. The quotation I landed on was this:

One crime has to be concealed by another.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC-65) Roman philosopher and playwright.

Crime and Passion

Paul flipped open the laptop. This was the last one and then his debt to Bernie was repaid. He didn’t know where Bernie got all these laptops and he didn’t care. His job was to wipe the hard drives clean so Bernie could sell them.

This one was pink. Who the hell owned a pink lap top? Curiosity filling him, he hit the power button and waited for it to boot up. He half expected the desktop to show a picture of puppies or kittens, but instead the blues and greens of Neversink Pit, Alabama filled the screen, lifted right from the National Geographic site.

He checked the registry. The computer was registered to Shay Donaldson.

“I can’t believe you’re using Internet Explorer still,” he said, opening up the browser to check the browsing history. “Chrome or Firefox would be much more efficient.”

Scrolling through Shay Donaldson’s history he found the usual sites she’d visited on the internet, like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, but then he found a few sites that made him sit up and take notice – Tips For Writing Erotica, Whips and Chains Oh My, Packing the Heat, Writing Erotica Checklist . . .

“My, my, my. You’ve suddenly become a very interesting woman, Shay Donaldson.”

Leaving the browser open, he scrolled over and clicked on the Documents folder on the desktop. There were about two dozen documents, most of them labelled Story One, Story Two, and so on, but the one that stood out for him was labelled, Erotic Short. Paul double-clicked to open the document and then sat back to read.

“Wow,” he said when he’d finished. It was the only word he could muster. The story had been about a man who’d found a woman’s wallet and when he returned it they’d had an instant attraction. She cooked him dinner as a thank you and a few paragraphs later they were having wildly inventive sex. He had to see what the writer of this looked like.

Exiting the document he brought up the browser again and clicked on the link for Shay’s Facebook. Sure enough, she had it set to load automatically. There was her profile picture, and under her info was her phone number.

Without even thinking about it, Paul was reaching for the phone and dialing.

“Hello, is this Shay Donaldson? My name is Paul Winters. The reason I’m calling . . . have you recently lost a lap top?”

* * * * *

“I can’t believe you found my lap top!”

Shay Donaldson was even better looking in person than her picture on Facebook. She was dark-haired and dark-eyed, petite but curved in all the right places. His ideal woman.

“You have no idea what this means to me!” Tears of gratitude filled her eyes.

“There must be something pretty important on there, huh?”

“You . . . you didn’t check out any of files?”

Paul shook his head. “Of course not! I feel as though a lap top is like a person’s diary. Whatever is on there is private. I checked the registry to see who owned it, but that was all, I swear.”

Shay laid her hand on top of his. “I believe you Paul. My novel is on this lap top. It took me over a year to write it and this is the only copy.”

“Wow. It’s a really good thing I found it then.”

“I don’t know how I can ever repay you.”

“How about having dinner with me some time?” he said promptly. “You can tell me all about this book of yours.”

“Maybe I could cook you dinner. You know, as a thank you,” she suggested shyly.

“I can’t think of anything I’d enjoy more.”

Mar 8, 2012

Post Delay

Sorry about this folks, but due to unforeseen circumstances, there's going to be a slight delay in the getting the next chapter of Water up. I'll try and have it up by noon.

Mar 7, 2012

Mar 6, 2012

Prophets and Prophecy – Part Two
Prophets of Islam – Part II

Prophets and Prophecy – Part Two
Prophets of Islam – Part II

13. Ayyub (Job)
In a test to prove Ayyub’s steadfastness, Allah allowed Iblis (Satan) to try and tempt him from the path of righteousness. After a series of increasingly dreadful trials, Ayyub remained unshaken in his faith and Allah rewarded him, thus providing the best of all possible examples of faith.

14. Musa (Moses)
Musa, known as Moses in the Old Testament, is mentioned more often in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is related more than that of any other prophet. Among other things, he is credited for leading his people out of slavery in Egypt, receiving the Ten Commandments, and receiving the Tawrat (Torah) from God.

15. Harun (Aaron)
Harun was the elder brother of Musa, was appointed by Allah to aid his brother Musa. He was responsible for carrying out of the rituals of worship and became the first High Priest of the Israelites. He acted as the vicegerent of Musa and accompanied his brother through the desert journeys till he died atop Mount Hoor.

16. Dhu'l-kifl (Ezekiel)
Also known as Zulkifl, he denounced his people for their sins and corruption. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. he held out the promise of a return to the homeland and the restoration of the Temple of David. He became a powerful symbol of hope, resurrection, and regeneration.

17. Da’ud (David)
Da’ud was appointed prophet after he defeated the giant king Jalut (Goliath). During his rule as king he expanded his boundaries and spread the religion of Allah. He laid the foundations of Bait-ul Muqaddas (the Holy Mosque) and Allah gave him the Book Zubur (Psalms in the Torah).

18. Sulayman (Solomon)
Sulayman was one of the sons of Da'ud. Allah appointed him prophet and king after his father and gave him immense wisdom and power over all creation. He completed the construction of Bait-ul-Muqaddas whose foundations were laid by his father.

19. Ilyas (Elias)
After the death of Sulayman, the people once again reverted to their evil ways. Allah sent the prophet Ilyas to reform mankind once again. When they would not listen, Allah sent a drought as punishment. The people blamed Ilyas and conspired to kill him, but he vanished into the protection of Allah.

20. Al-Yasa (Elisha)
Al-Yasa was the cousin and spiritual successor of the Prophet Ilyas. He travelled widely preaching the word of Allah. He came to a barren land that was having a severe drought and prayed to Allah to show mercy to the people. Allah answered his prayers and made the area fertile once more.

21. Yunus (Jonah)
Yunus was appointed prophet by Allah towards the people of Ninewa (North Western Iraq), who refused to listen to his teachings. He became discouraged and prayed to Allah to punish these people but instead he was the one punished when he was swallowed by a large fish. Once free of the fish he prayed for forgiveness for abandoning his mission. He returned to the people who embraced his teachings.

22. Zakariyya (Zechariah)
Zakariyya was descended from Prophet Sulaiman and earned his livelihood as a carpenter. He kept the torch of Mosaic law burning by prayed devotedly and preaching zealously. He was responsible for the rituals of worship as well as the upkeep of Bait-ul Muqqadas.

23. Yahya (John)
Yahya was the son that Allah had promised to Zakariyya in his old age. He was kind hearted towards others, and was obedient to his parents and elders. He lived strictly according to the Torah and urged others to follow it for their salvation. He gave baptismal rites to all those who listened to his call.

24. 'Isa (Jesus)
Isa was the last prophet appointed by Allah. He was thirty years old when he began to receive divine revelations and started to preach the commandments of Allah, performing many miracles as well. The people defied his teachings and denied his legitimacy, collaborating with the Roman governor to have him framed for treason, which was punishable by crucifixion. According to the Qur’an Allah withdrew him from amongst his blood thirsty enemies and raised him to the heaven before this could happen.

25. Muhammad
In the Qur'an, he is called "Rahmatun-lil-aalameen, " the blessing for the universe.
According to the popular tradition, Muhammad was born in Makkah (Mecca) on Friday, August 29, 570 AD. Even from an early age, Muhammad never told lies nor fabricated events. He did not waste his time nor indulged in unproductive activities. He liked solitude, and devoted some of his time for meditation. He was meditating in a cave when the archangel Jibril came to him to tell him it was time to start spreading the message of Allah. Jibril provided him with guidance and Muhammad travelled the land to announce his prophet-hood.

Under the Prophet Muhammad’s preaching, faith in Islam made slow but steady progress. The Message of Allah was spread throughout the Arabian peninsula. The Prophet Muhammad gave his followers a code of conduct which was to govern the lives of all generations of Muslims in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about the Prophets of Islam, I’d like to suggest the following websites:

Prophets in Islam
Stories of the Prophets
Stories of the Prophets
Prophets in Islam

Be sure and check back next week when explore Buddha Siddharta Gautama.

Mar 5, 2012

Myriarchy Monday

myriarchy ~ government by ten thousand individuals

Last week started out so promising, but then got away from me with lightning speed and turned into an epic failure. I had to use a recycled story for my flash story; I had no idea where either of my serials were going; missed my poetry post completely; fell off the wagon commenting on people’s blogs; and then I picked up a virus while scoping out websites for the Share the Love post. Things went downhill from there! LOL

On the bright side, my 16 oz. Tardis mug arrived from ThinkGeek last week! :-)

Now I just need some tea worthy of it. ;-)

The weather here is still insane, which does not help anyone’s mood, especially mine. One day it’s freezing, the next it’s raining, then back to freezing, but never cold enough that I can wear my uber warm winter coat. We had gale force winds on Saturday and yesterday barely a breeze. As I type this it’s -13 degrees outside, yet by Wednesday it’s supposed to be +8 degrees. Make up your freaking mind already!

I read three and a half books last week. It would have been more but the first one I really took my time with. Have you ever noticed some books are like that? Some books I’m able to zip right through, but others I need to slow down my reading so I don’t miss anything. Some books I read all at once and some I read a bit at a time. I guess just as I read a wide variety of books, I read in a wide variety of ways.

What’s Up This Week:
The schedule is up on the side bar, so I’m just giving the highlights here.

Tuesday On Random Thoughts We have Part Two of Prophets and Prophecies, which is part II of the Prophets of Islam. On Random Writings I’m going to change things up a bit. I got a virus last week whilst checking out websites to recommend, so it’s made me a little leery. I’m going to try a book review instead, of one of the books I read last week.

Wednesday (on Random Writings) I gotta wonder just how much help these three wizards working together are going to be. Poor Jessica. And on Random Thoughts there’ll be another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday In chapter eight of Water (on Random Thoughts) we’ll see what happens to these children who have spent little, if any, time outside once the sun comes up.

Friday Sorry about missing last week – hopefully I’ll have a Passion For Poetry post for you on Random Writings, and on Random Thoughts it’s Flash Me Friday – this time it’s going to be another quotation prompt.

Mar 2, 2012

Flash Me Friday

Okay, I have to admit I’m cheating a bit this week. This is something I wrote a long time ago and I might even have posted it on my other blog at one time. But I figured, what the heck, at least it’s seasonally appropriate. :-)

the Snow Child

Once upon a time there grew a garden that was so beautiful that even in winter it was a wondrous sight to behold. When the snow fell it covered the trees and bushes in a soft blanket of white so pristine it looked carved from marble. And when the weather changed too rapidly causing ice to form it was transformed into a garden of crystal.

Near the garden was a house, and in the house lived two children, brother and sister, named Damon and Celeste. The house and garden being far from any town or village, they had only each other to play with. However, since it had always been this way, they were quite content with things the way they were.

One day, after a fresh fall of snow, Damon and Celeste decided to go outside to play in the garden. They played tag and threw snowballs, even played hide and seek among the heavily laden fir trees. But it was not long before they ran out of things to do.

"I know," said Celeste. "Why don't we make a snow child?"

"All right," Damon agreed. Damon was always agreeable to whatever Celeste asked of him, she being older than him and he being an agreeable sort.

"It will be much more fun with the three of us," Celeste said.

Together they began to fashion a child out of snow, and because it was Celeste's idea, they decided their snow friend should be a girl too. She had an oval face, with large eyes and a little mouth like a bow. Celeste and Damon were quite talented, it looked just like a real girl.

“She needs some hair,” Celeste said, standing back to observe their handiwork. “She would look too strange without hair.”

Damon thought for a bit. “What about this?” he asked, removing the red woolen scarf from around his neck.

Celeste agreed it was just the thing, and they picked the scarf apart, using the strands of bright red wool to create hair for their friend.

"Now we need to bring her to life," Celeste said, once they were finished.

"How are we supposed to do that?"

“Well," Celeste said slowly, "in the fairy tales, a prince's kiss is usually magic. Maybe you should try giving her a kiss."

So Damon went up to the snow child and kissed her, right on the lips. The children were not at all surprised to see her lips turn red and color suffuse her face. A sudden gust of wind blew from the north and the snow child came to life. She moved, she smiled, and to the great delight of the children she began to play with them.

A while later, the children's father happened by. Though sunny, the day was cold. He decided it was time for the children to go into the house.

"But father," said Celeste. "We don't want to leave our friend just yet."

The father was startled to see a third child in the garden. If it were not for her bright red hair, she would have blended right into the garden with her pale, pale skin and pristine white clothes.

"Well, by all means, your friend is most welcome too," he said, smiling.

The snow child shook her head no.

"Nonsense, my dear," said the father, taking her by the hand. "It's very cold out, your hand is chilled. Come in and get warmed by the fire and then I can take you home."

"But father _" Damon tried to protest.

"Now, Damon," the father replied in a voice that brooked no argument.

Celeste and Damon looked at each other, Celeste biting her bottom lip. The snow child said nothing, only sighed sadly. They went meekly into the house. Celeste and Damon were sent to their rooms to change into dry clothes, and the father took the snow child to the parlor where a fire was burning merrily.

"There you go," he said cheerfully. "You just stand close to the fire to warm up, and Damon and Celeste with be with you in a few minutes."

The snow child stared up at him sadly. Uncomfortable with those big eyes looking at him so silently, the father left the room.

The snow child went over to the window and stared longingly at the magical, white garden. Great, silent tears rolled gently down her cheeks as she began to melt, until all that was left of her was a mound of red woolen threads, and trace of white snow on the wet carpet.