Monday, October 29, 2018

HALLOWEEN STORIES! Bring Them On!



It's always a good time for a story, but never so much as when the weather chills, and people become inclined to gather 'round the fire - singly or in groups - and enjoy ghostly tales of spookiness.
 
Another of my short stories has been translated into video form.  This one is, conveniently, a ghost story based on an actual legendary haunt from Luxembourger lore – the Stierches-geescht.
 
Ghost of the Bridge will release this afternoon, and will be available for viewing either at 
https://vimeo.com/297398536 or at SLArtist-Designing Worlds, Episode DW382. It’s my third year writing for their Halloween Special.  Last year was an adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow that turned out to be very popular, and the previous year one of the stories from my Irish canon, In the Mist.

Oh, AND if you haven't yet seen Arrivals & Departures, it's another of my stories that you can enjoy in video form. Not spook-a-licious, though.
 
Submitted here for your Halloween week enjoyment. They are not It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, but they are something that I am proud to share.

Okay, so nothing published this year.  Yet it has been a very fertile year for writing, so publications can't be that far away!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

NEW POEM: Straight Up Without Explanation


Hubris
by Judith Cullen
© 2018

Don't try and explain,
to those trying on
life like a new suit.
Full of knowledge
bursting, seeing what  
is right so very clearly
from their new shoes.

Don't fuss or worry.
In six months all
will change to new
fashions, discoveries.
All will be the correct,
proper garb for the
very righteous.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

IN A LIGHTER MOOD: "Signs & Portents*

And now, for something slightly different ...

The Milky Way galaxy with the constellations Cassiopeia and Cepheus.
 Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.  Public Domain.

Signs and Portents
by Judith Cullen
© 2018

Cracks and lines in the pavement
have no actual orthopedic import.
Stomp as you will, sidewalks are not
an avenue for parental retribution.

Just because Mom hollered out the window
"Stop it!" in 1972, and the snow ceased,
Does not mean she controls the weather.
So you can put that telephone down.

Yes, it began to rain that summer day
while you worked with your friend.
He is not lucky, like a jade Buddha.
You certainly may not rub his tummy.

In a seemingly random universe,
teetering between control and chaos,
we grasp for meaning where we can,
hoping for a hand hold on surety.

Whether it actually exists or not
we find comfort in the occasional,
embracing cosmic import in the
fortuitous fidelity of coincidence.

##

Saturday, August 18, 2018

NEW POEM: It Took a While, But I am Learning

There's a beauty in being at ease with someone - of NOT feeling the necessity to be connected every moment.  Seriously, I was not a big dater in my youth - being notable for a different type of popularity: being well-known and respected. (*makes "gacking" teenager sounds*)  At a time when my contemporaries were bumbling through the early trials and errors of couple-ness, I was planning the dances and special events they would attend.  I'm still kind of that way.

So I learned how to "be" with someone late. Really late. I won't call it "love" because I am too old for that presumption.  But it does still have some of the trappings - getting excited when you see them after several days, knowing all the correct buttons to push for fun, comfort, or calm.  Knowing someone well enough to know when to just "let be" without carrying that residue with you afterwards.

I am grateful for the lesson that relationships, good ones, are not about two halves making a whole - they are about two complete persons keeping each other in balance.  And for however long they are destined to last, they are to be treasured.



Keeping Company
by Judith Cullen
© 2018

Wisps of ivory lace, black trunks.
It all seemed so frantic before you,
the crazed heady rushing,
near desperate uncertainty.
The compelling, the potent,
overwhelming exhilaration.

Gentle caress, your finger on my arm.
The stark difference still jolts,
of two who drifted together,
slow moving magnetic forces,
two planets easing into
soothing conjunctive orbit.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

ESSAY: "Coloring Outside the Lines"



Coloring Outside the Lines
by Judith Cullen
© 2018

It is the same meeting someone face to face as it when you get to know them virtually - something that happens increasingly in our world.  It seems counter intuitive, but it is true.  The process of getting to know someone is really the same, its just that the pitfalls are more acutely highlighted when you get to know someone remotely, rather than in person. 

You are in contact with someone for the first time, and something (or some things) about them appeals to you - strikes a chord. You think, "I'd like to get to know this person better." In certain circumstances, you might even think "they have something that I want. I'll get to know them so I can learn." They were a blank page to you before, an unknown.  Then the moment of introduction happens, the void sheet begins to transform, taking on an outline that intrigues and interests.  It's like a fresh coloring page.  You reach for your box of colors, and you begin.

Friday, August 3, 2018

A POEM EXPERIMENT - "Lavender in the Moonlight"


I love the scent of lavender.  I had a "dream pillow" for years filled with it, and it was one of two scents of Crabtree & Evelyn® products that I used regularly back when I worked in a hot and humid part of the country.

The other day I put out some virtual lavender  plants in a couple of locations in Second Life ®, and I was amazed how clearly the memory of the scent came back to me, and how soothing it was.  I haven't been able to smell actual lavender for over a decade, due to industrial asthma.  But I sure remember how it smelled, and how crisply clean I felt after a shower or bath.

I have also been doing a lot of video and audio work lately, and I found myself a little curious what it would be like to deconstruct them in a presentation.  It's an experiment.

***
Lavender in the Moonlight
by Judith Cullen
© 2018

Unquiet sleep.
Subsiding conscious thoughts
without the succor of actual repose,
and she rises.


Friday, July 27, 2018

ONE MORE RFL STORY: "A Thing with Feathers"


I wrote a total of 16 pieces of poetry and prose for the Fantasy Faire SL's LitFest Writing Challenge this year.  This is the final piece of the seven that were written with a specific dedication, for someone in my life who has had a direct relationship with cancer.  It has been a wonderful, soulful journey.

A Thing with Feathers
by Judith Cullen
© 2017

for Kathryn

"I brought the wine," she said.  She sat down beside me, deftly handling the two glasses and the bottle. The red wine poured elegantly.  Everything my friend Kathryn did was elegant, stylish, done with a certain understated flair that spoke of  intelligence and class.  She's the only woman I have ever seen gracefully maneuver timpani down a hill in two inch heels. She handed me my glass, and we watched the ebb and flow of the gossamer fish in silence.

"Not Butterfly," I said.

"Totally wrong for it," she replied.

"Maybe Menotti's The Last Savage. It would be a stretch," I suggested. "Or Vivaldi's Argippo?"

"Maybe," she sipped her wine thoughtfully.

After a moment she grinned and I knew she had found just the perfect piece, as she always did, "Bizet's The Pearl Fishers."

"Oh yes," I concurred. "Wouldn't THAT be splendid to stage." The gold-trimmed white marble and the translucent aquamarine water were a little high class for Bizet's subject. Yet with opera you can get away with a certain heightened theatricality.  Life, death, passion, revenge, hatred all on a grand scale - that is opera.

"Mind you, I don't think Bizet had this kind of market in mind. Have you seen these shops?  They are fabulous!"

She refilled our glasses, and rose, leaving the bottle nestled under the bench. I followed her, as always a little in awe that someone so stylish should choose to share company with me, Queen of the Rumpled.

We walked from shop to shop, her trademark heels clicked along the bright marble walkway.  My shoes did not.  She had to drag me out of the shop with exquisite Celt and Nordic inspired furnishings, "Hey!  I might need that for something."

"Come along, we are not shopping for scenery."

"What are we shopping for?"