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Archive for October, 2010

Intellectual Property and Internet Law Attorney, Brad Frazer joins BackTalk! for an afternoon of information to help wade through the murky world of protecting your work, agents, contracts and other literary mysteries.  Join us at the Sun Ray Cafe, 1602 N. 13th Boise, Idaho from 11:30 – 1:30.  See you there!

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 “You’re such a liar!” Nick yelled. 

“Go, ahead, then.” Avery answered, his voice muffled through his mask.  “I dare you.  Go in there and wave from the bedroom window.”

 The two boys stared at the abandoned home.  They were supposed to be trick-or-treating.  Not breaking and entering.  Nick chewed his lip with his vampire teeth.  This is so stupid, he thought.

 “Too scared?” Avery asked.  

 Avery looked at Nick through the hollowed eyes of his skeleton costume.  He knew Nick would have trouble resisting a dare.  Nick, the all-around athlete, high-scoring point guard, baseball MVP.  Maybe he wasn’t so tough after all.

 “Fine.”  Nick set down his pillowcase with a crinkled heave.  “I’m only doing this to prove you’re a total idiot.”

 “I’ll be here, waving.” Avery held his hand up, mimicking the Queen of England’s signature wave.  Nick could almost see Avery’s smile through the plastic mask.

 “So stupid!” Nick muttered out loud this time and headed towards the back of the house. 

 Avery told him that there was a window open wide enough to crawl through.  He also told Nick about some man who jumped out at him in the upstairs bedroom and chased him all the way out of the house.  But Nick knew no one lived here.  The house was empty and he would prove it.

 Nick walked towards the back of the house using his flashlight to guide the way.   He slithered through the window frame, finding firm floors with his sneakers.  This is so stupid!, he thought again.  But once he proved Avery wrong, it would all be worth it.

 It was dark, of course.  No electricity here.  Nick followed the weak beam of the flashlight as it struck the floor and peeling walls.  It smelled, too.  He put his hand over his nose and breathed shallowly through the plastic teeth.  He carefully climbed the stairs to the second story landing.  Avery is such an idiot! Nick repeated in his mind.  At the top, he turned to the left, the very room Avery swore he saw the man in.

 Nick turned the door handle and pushed it open.  It was as dark as the rest of the house, but his flashlight beam illuminated the room so he could make his way to the curtains.  Too easy!

 Nick pulled the curtain back and lit up his face so that Avery could see him.  Sure enough, Nick saw Avery down below, instead of a wave, Nick gave him the middle finger.  Nick could see Avery pull his skeleton mask off with a quizzical look and then throw it on the ground.

 “Oh my God!  Behind you!  Look behind you!” Avery screamed.

 Nick folded his arms.  “Yeah, right!”

 Avery watched as Nick reluctantly turned and the window suddenly flashed and then darkened.  Avery dropped his candy and ran in the dark.  He had heard them, Nick’s screams.  Even now, as he ran.  The sound of it hurt his ears.  I’m so sorry, Nick! God, I’m so sorry!

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My grandmother never told me about my grandfather.  Just to say, “the only good thing from that marriage was your mother.”

“And me?”  By extension me, right?

My grandmother had twinkly, defiant eyes.  Like she didn’t give a “flip” what people thought of her.  She told me how she’d hated high school.  All the kids who “thought they were something.”  Getting sent to the principle’s office for back talking to an insufferable teacher.

The principle though, he forgave her.  He sat her on his lap and told her she had to be a good girl.

“He sat you on his lap?”  That sounded weird.

“Yep,” her lips smacked together; her twinkly eyes dared me to defy her.

Sometimes my grandmother told me about her first husband.  Her true love.  Going on dates.  Driving in his car.  After they were married, her parents bought him a small plane that he loved to fly over their house in the country.

He died in that plane.  And when they found him, my grandmother said, they only found the bottom half of his body.  From the waist down.

“Where was the rest?”  I asked.  Horrified but curious.  Trying to picture a body without a chest, arms, neck, head.  I couldn’t see the blood.  Only a clean, trim lower half.  Khaki pants, neat and a little dusty.  Heavy brown shoes.  In the cockpit of half-wrecked plane.

“Gone,” she answered, clipping the word short.

“Gone?”  I didn’t understand how a man could be all one piece.  Ordinary.  And then suddenly only half a man.

“Just gone.”

“Like all blown away?”  I asked, unhelpfully.  Thinking all blown up.  Blown to smithereens.  No trace left of the upper half.

My grandmother’s quick short nod.  We wouldn’t talk about that anymore.

Then a minute or so later, “He came back to me one time.” 

I stared at her.

She repeated, “He came back one time.  After he died.”

“Came back?”

“I saw him.  Sitting at the end of my bed.”

She wasn’t too giving on details, but I waited.  My arms prickled.  My pulse felt loud at my neck.

“I was in my bedroom crying after he died, and I saw him.  Sitting at the foot of the bed.”

She said the sentences matter-of-factly, like it was natural for a dead man, a half-blown up man to reappear.

“What did he look like?”  I asked.  Nervous.

“Like he always had.”  Her bold eye challenged mine.  “I told him, I can’t go on without you.  But, he said, ‘Effie, you can.  You have to.’ ”

“Then he was gone.”

“Did you see him again?”  I asked, cautious and hopeful.  Maybe he still haunted the country house.  The new owners might find him pacing quietly up the front stairs.  Standing at an open doorway.  Glaring into my grandmother’s bedroom.  Looking for her.

She shook her head.  “Nope.”

“He didn’t come back?”

“Nope,” her lips smacked together quietly that time.  Her eyes were dark.  “Nope, he never did.”

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Idaho Writers

Busy weekend in Boise, Idaho. Come check out ‘Booktoberfest’! Numerous guest speakers, publishers and authors. Don’t miss out. http://www.booktoberfestidaho.com/. October 23rd.

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Guild News

Mark your calendar!   There’s a lot happening with the Idaho Writers Guild.  Here’s what’s coming up:

10/16 – Random Readings: Historical Fiction.  This event is free and open to the public at the Cabin from 1-3pm.  Historical fiction authors will read from their works and answer questions about research, craft and publication.  Join us for light snacks, beverages, and lively discussion.

10/23 – The Idaho Writers Guild will have a booth at this year’s Booktoberfest.  Stop by and say hello on Saturday from 10-6 at the University of Phoenix.  Local and national authors will be speaking, including the IWG’s own Doug Copsey.  For more info check out www.BooktoberfestIdaho.com

11/6 – Backtalk! at the Sun Ray Cafe in Hyde Park.  Attorney Brad Fraser will be on hand to discuss Intellectual Property, Internet Law and what you need to know when it comes to contracts.  Free and open to the public from 11:30-1:30.  Come early and have lunch!

Also, the IWG Blog is open to Spooky Submissions through October 15th.  Scare us in 500 words or less, no poetry please.  Email submissions in the body of an email, subject line should read “Submission.”  Open to active members of the Idaho Writers Guild.

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The IWG Blog is once again open to submissions.  Send us your spooky stories by October 15th.  The nitty gritty: 500 words or less, no poetry please.  Email submissions to idahowritersguild@yahoo.com.  Subject line should read “Submission.”  In the email include your name and the work you are submitting.  No attachments.  Open to all active members of the Idaho Writers Guild.  One submission per member.  Entries will be blind judged by the Guild board.  Have fun and get writing!

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The poet

at the microphone

with a love for Florida

and blue crab

for lunch,

maybe a lunch

spread out

on a nice linen

tablecloth

in the house

on Cedar Key,

was telling

the audience

about setting

crab traps.

How the blue crabs

were bastards.

Then she

began to read

her poem.

Sonorous and slow,

a luminous gem,

many faceted

with layers

I would probably

never

understand.

For I

Was thinking

Of the blue crab

And hoping that

when the killers

come for me,

when they try

to twist my skin

or break my neck,

break my hard crustacean

shell,

when they lie

in wait and set

a trap

that holds me

much too well,

then pull me up

into the light of day,

staring at my plump legs

dreaming of my softer,

more vulnerable parts,

inwardly planning

my demise:

Dropped, kicking

and scratching

and screaming

into their boiling

holy hell,

That I too

will be

half laughed at,

half desired

by the audience

(panting to please)

as a bastard.

Only creatures

so arrogant

they believe

they alone

are headed

for everlasting
existence

can so easily

shake off

the battle

for life.

The battle,

the will,

the drive to live:

Only instinct

in animals,

which is not what

we are.

And even though

She was one of

My kin,

My kind,

My tribe,

I couldn’t help

thinking of

the blue crab.

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