Hibernation

I wake up. Gray light falls through the curtains into my bedroom. A sleepy tabby is curled up on my legs, no doubt exhausted from a long night of conducting important cat business. I get up, get dressed, fill the food bowls, get coffee. Or maybe tea? It’s all the same, anyway. I turn on my computer. I should get to work…or maybe I should look at the news first. No.

I start typing. Letters, words, sentences…what’s the word I am looking for? Oh right: pages. Inconsequential streams of consciousness. Someone else’s idea of enjoyment. It gets old really fast.

Time doesn’t exist in my office. The curtains keep away the Outside, until the number of completed lines on my screen tell me it’s time for dinner. I go into the other room. It’s dark out, so it must be evening, yes? I cook. We eat in front of the TV while watching some show. It’s all the same, anyway.

Time to sleep.

[163 words]

First thing

I attended a Zoom workshop on creative writing hosted by Open Book Unbound yesterday. We had twelve minutes to write a poem on morning rituals. It is short enough to include a revised version here.

First thing

Kettle’s on.
I greet the sun with obligatory stretching
In the valley, chapel bells chime Ave Maria
I inhale on the first divine smoke of the day
As I look to the hills while
tomatoes redden and pumpkins fatten.
I am the early riser, my feet planted in wet grass
I am the quiet one in quiet time
The dog barks, yet no one wakes
Coffee’s done.

©2020 Allison Wright

Playing

Right now, there is not too much time to play. But now that I have a decent phone and software can be synchronized by a techno-eejit, the techno-eejit can also draw with her left index finger.

This is a huge creative leap forward in the genre formerly known as finger painting.

Untitled from the artist’s second childhood phase

That’s all there is time for now. Typing was also achieved with the same finger as the drawing, a true testimony to the wonders of tech.

2020 Allison Wright

In crooked lines

Deus escreve certo em linhas tortas. God writes straight in crooked lines. I heard the Portuguese saying long before I came to Portugal, and long before I even had a smattering of the language.

Caring for the other one, my beloved, that taught me compassion. I prayed constantly to Jesus, pleading to know what it meant to have a compassionate heart. He showed me all right. It is the finding of a soft, sweet voice and a firm kind touch, when all around swirls blood and guts and gore, rank with the smell of excrement. Pure love, so it is. Not earthly love. Pure love. Simple.

I have to recall this, for a spiritual reckoning is necessary as I embark on my next copyediting job, a book about the message of Our Lady of Fátima. You see, in the three years since my beloved died, I have not deciphered much in the crooked handwriting of God.

It seems He has taken up His pen again. Via a long and winding path by word of mouth half-way around the globe and back again, news of this work reached my ears.

So, thanks, Jesus, for the lesson on compassion. And the lesson on grief. (And the many blessings you shower on me daily – lest you think me ungrateful.) Can we move on to the power of discernment and finding le mot juste now?

©2020 Allison Wright
[229 words – more than a few stray minutes]

Mangoes

I remember holding his hand as he led our family in prayer when his father died.

The strength of his faith coursed through his firm grip, but I saw he had tears in his eyes and his voice plummeted to gravel now and then. One or two adults among us shifted awkwardly, for their faith was not as strong, but they persisted in the ritual. For all were joined by sadness and family ties as we held our similar-looking hands together.

The catapult of years is swift and now he, my uncle who loved his Lord — for that’s what he said years later — is dead.

All I can think of, apart from the warmth of spirit in his hands, was that he told us kids that there was an insect inside a mango pip, and we should try to get it out. I don’t know if that’s true. In the forty-six years since, I have never been able to open a mango pip.

©2019 Allison Wright
[161 words – 12 minutes total]

Jitters (m)

Nervous nibbling of frayed fingernails. Hopping, half-hopefully, semi-smiling from side to side, drawing deep on cheap cigarette (not that any fags are inexpensive these days – perhaps it’s designing the gruesome anti-smoking warnings that makes them cost so much?)

Giggling, gracelessly, despite the litheness of his long legs when he moves, moodily, meaning to appear arrogantly acerbic, but instead evidently empty, envious of everyone else who seems to calm, so content, so clearly complete.

[73 words]

(c) Jane Davis, 2020


 

I took the title of this one from one of Allison’s recent posts, basing it on someone I saw at a bus stop last week. It’s a bit shorter than many of the other posts in this series because my five stray minuteses only seem to turn up when I’m writing by hand!

Placement of the pile

I sorted through T-shirts this evening. The purpose was to find items suitable for donation.

The secondary purpose was to put like with like. Although my body size has not changed in decades, I have T-shirts of many different sizes. So sorting by size and colour occurred.

And then, the big decision: Dare I put the pile of short-sleeved T-shirts in a place of prominence in the wardrobe on this, the coldest night this winter?

The art of living dangerously said yes. Do it. Okay, okay! Done, already!

The long-sleeved T-shirts, I’ll have you know, were already in a neat pile of their own.

©2019 Allison Wright
[107 words]

Jitters

I am writing an online test today. That is what was scheduled to start five minutes ago.

I have just shot a quick e-mail to the agency managing the tests. Should I mention that these tests are a repeat of a test done in late October in the previous decade? My enthusiasm for this activity wanes with each passing minute. Next, my patience will begin to erode.

In the meantime, I have received three e-mails. One is advertising cheap accommodation near an airport I travelled to 18 months ago. As if I would go back there…

Oh, look, a new e-mail from the agency telling me that the tests for translation in the direction opposite to the one I travel in have been received. Let’s wait a little longer, she says, for the test that I am supposed to be doing. I don’t have all day, I think. And then I remember that there is always that expression beginning with F.

I still plan to have T-shirts, or tea towels emblazoned that on it, by the way. Ah, but what about my reputation? The test people have got another 15 minutes of my time. And after that’s done, forget it.

I have other things to do. Who knew?

©2019 Allison Wright
[199 words]

Two Hours

The orange juice on the tray in front of me starts rippling. Absent-mindedly, I grasp the plastic cup. I hear the engines roar as the plane rocks and shudders. Abruptly, I realize where I am: 38,000 feet in the air, traveling at 700mph in a tiny, fragile metal tube. It’s night outside, but even if it weren’t, all I would be seeing out the Plexiglas windows would be clouds, and maybe mountains.

“My Mom was once on a flight and in just a few seconds the plane dropped about 10,000 feet. Even the cabin crew were screaming!”

Why do I have to remember that story now? It’s just turbulence, it happens all the time. It’s not dangerous!

The rocking intensifies. A part of me knows that it’s safe, but that last voice of reason is stifled by primal fear taking over. I grasp his arm. How long has this been going on? A minute, maybe two?

I glance at the flight information. Eight hours to go. I can’t take this any longer. But there’s nowhere to go. Upon boarding that plane I surrendered my life to the crew and the engineers who built that tin can. Foolishly, I trusted that they knew what they were doing.

The engines are revving, and I can feel the plane accelerating. There is a soft ping and the seatbelt signs light up. The crew are sitting down…that cannot be good. I bury my face in his chest. I cannot lift my head to look at the screen anymore. The primal fear now has me completely paralyzed. All I can do is wheeze with every new jerking.

He reads out the numbers to me. Speed, altitude, trajectory. Over and over, while I am certain that I’ll never escape from this death trap. His voice is soothing, and if I died right now it wouldn’t be so bad…

But the elements aren’t kind enough to end it right here. They keep toying with us for the next two hours. Two hours, each minute of which seems like an eternity, gnawing away my sanity with every bit of shaking and revving and rocking.

And then it stops. Reluctantly, I open my eyes and squint into the unexpected brightness. It’s daylight now, and outside the window I can see clouds and mountains passing by…peaceful and impassive and eternal.

[390 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2020

Away

I have been away for quite some time now. Too much has happened in the last three months, and it has kept my mind preoccupied with things other than writing. Work, the day-to-day nuisances of life, and—most importantly—nesting. For me, the winter months are a time during which I withdraw to be by myself, to enjoy the serenity of the tranquil dark, to wrap myself in cozy blankets, to shut out the world…if only for a little while. The smell of the cold, the gothic gloom brought on by the early nightfall, and the vague excitement about the upcoming holidays always held an almost magical quality for me. Writing about it and thus dissecting it, attempting to put it to paper (or—worse—typing it into an impassive, cold, logical machine and revising it on a bright screen) would rob it of the very magic I hope to preserve. So I simply took it all in, and in time, when the magic has faded on its own, I will be able to write again…about the smell of homemade food, the comforting warmth of Wassail, the purring of the feline companions, and the dreams, slowly fading away in the first light of dawn.

[204 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2020