Short Story

The Joy of Writing

The Joy of Writing

I’ve read many of stories or books that start the title “The Joy of Writing,” but never really consigned myself to the concept.  Writing was anything but a joy. It was exciting, thrilling, frustrating, stressful, mind-blowing, and confusing and every other emotion on the spectrum from one extreme to the other. But, joy?

Do we categorize breathing as a joy? Or how about urination or yawning, or sleeping?  Well, I can see where sleeping might sometimes be a joy.  But how can we categorize natural occurrences, something that so much a part of you and instinctual be considered a joy?    Writing is part of who I am. Constructing a story is a part of my every day, every moment existence. I see the world as one long epic tale, and each major event it’s chapters, and each segment a paragraph, a sentence, or a word. Those moments are what makes up life and as a writer I am a recorder, a scribe, and an observer of life.

I don’t just write for fun, or therapy, or clarity, or need. I write because it’s who I am.  It’s like being a mother. While there are all the books out there in the world that tell us how to be a mother, I found out that being a mother is a natural thing, a instinctual thing.  My choice comes into play by deciding what type of mother to be – nurturing or neglectful, etc.  I am a writer and the only choice I have within this vocation is what kind of writer to be – and if you’ve followed me for any length of time you will find that I am a multiple-faceted writer – a writing diamond. I’ve dabbled in journaling, blogging, novels, novellas, epics,  punditry, op-eds, technical, business professional, auto-biographical, legal, free verse, poetry, screenplays, reviews, editorials, memes, short stories, flash fiction,  and songwriting lyrics. If I think about it, I’m sure I could add a few more in there – but I think you get the picture. Writing is just something I do. It’s natural.

Yet, writing isn’t without its own rules, standards and styles.  So, I have to learn them. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are just basic skills needed to be a writer, because after that comes tense, perspective, pacing, style, structure, threads, inciting scenes, prologues, forwards, and on and on and on.  These are skills developed over time and experience.

So, how is writing a joy?  I suppose the joy of writing is the ability to do it, and love doing it in the first place. I do love writing. It’s a part of me that comes alive and thrives within me. I am a collector of stories, a re-teller of tales, a silver-tongue, a scribe, a keeper of legends. How can one not find joy in that? When we leave this world, all we leave behind is our story.  Who will read it or hear it unless it has been written? I don’t need a Sorcerer’s Stone to make me immortal – I just need to write. While my body will leave this place one day and turn to dust, my stories will remain until it is no longer retold or pages are lost.

That’s one thing that makes me sad – the forgotten of those that were here before.  I sometimes walk graveyards and whisper to the headstones, “Hey, I see your name. You existed. You once were here and you once lived.” I know it’s probably crazy, but I don’t want to be forgotten. I don’t others to be forgotten. I don’t our history to be forgotten. I am an orphan and often feel forgotten in the world, so I write. Oh, the joy of writing.

 

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

 

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Book Review, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, Flash Fiction, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, memes, Muses, music, Musing, Philosophy, poem, Poetry, Quotes, relationship, respect, Review, Romantic, Short Story, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Finding Purpose

 

Purpose

Life is hard.  Living is hard. That truth has never been in debate. It may appear harder or easier for some than others, but that’s really just appearance.  What may be difficult for me is easy to someone else, and vice versa.  But in my forty-seven times around the sun, I’ve learned that life is only hard when it’s outside a purpose or that purpose has not been defined. When I’m focused, and have a demarcated purpose, dream, goal, expectation or desire – no amount of effort or sacrifice is too much, too heavy, or too hard.

I sometimes suffer from anxiety. Never because I can’t do something. I honestly don’t believe there isn’t anything I couldn’t do, or figure out how to do. My anxiety comes from not being able to do something well, to the best of my ability, or failing those who depend on me. I don’t worry about tomorrow, what I’ll wear, how I’ll eat, where I’ll sleep, etc. I’m smart enough to figure those things out. What I fear is not having a purpose, not being missed, not being loved, not mattering, and being alone.

I have high standards, because they’re the standards I’ve set for myself. I don’t expect anyone to be me, respond like me, make choices like me, or work as hard as I do, to chase the goals I have for myself.  I don’t want to change anyone else either. I want the people in my life to be true to themselves and their own purposes, and not try to change me to suit their purpose.  Celebrate our differences. Share our experiences. Appreciate each other for those variances. BUT that is so hard to find.

I didn’t always value the purpose others set for themselves because I was selfish and it was about what I wanted and what I needed, not realizing that making room for someone in my life also mean making room for their purpose. It’s about finding a balance of what differences I can live with, and which ones I can’t.  It’s about finding someone to believe in me as a person, and be someone I can believe in, who I am proud to know, to understand, and to love.

Without purpose – life is chaos, a chasing of the wind.  Without love – life is empty, also a chasing of the wind. I desire both, yet fear them at the same time. What if I fail? But … what if I succeed?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Dream, Faith, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Life, love, memes, Muses, Musings, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, Romantic, Short Story, Song List, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howl of the Moon Goddess

Howl of the Moon Goddess

Thump. Thump. The speakers vibrate as the heavy bass blares throughout the small apartment. Each beat moves Luna, stirs her soul, and stimulates her imagination.  Her head slightly bobs and she taps her foot to the steady beat, sometimes even moving her shoulders with each progression, but her mind isn’t on the music, she doesn’t even hear the lyrics she finds herself singing.  Her thoughts are on him. They’re always on him, or at least it seems that way to her lately.

“Concentrate, damn it. You’ve got a deadline.”

Luna’s fingers sit idly on the keys as she stares at the empty page on her laptop screen, but she doesn’t even see the white empty space.  She can only see flashes of his black eyes, those mysterious, sexy, exotic eyes, staring at her, undressing her, her wolf hungry and filled with a need to devour.

Butterflies flutter inside her, the music takes her deeper and deeper into her day dream.  She closes her eyes, leans back in her office chair and with the tips of her fingers she lightly touches her forehead, imaging it’s the soft, warm touch of his beautiful full lips.  She moves her middle finger between her brows and down to the tip of her nose and pauses.  She can see him clearly now in her mind.  His forehead rested upon her own and his dark eyes staring into her own, his warm breath upon her own lips, the tip of his nose pressed against hers. One hand cradles her head, while his strong thick thumb slowly rubs against her jawline.  She can feel him peering into her eyes, deeply, beyond her hazel irises and into the very depths of her soul. 

“I love you,” her wolf whispers.

Her breath catches.  She wants to say those three powerful words back to him, but she can’t breathe.  She’s paralyzed, filled with both fear and overwhelming emotion.  She’s longed to hear him say those words, but at the same time doesn’t trust them.  Too many other wolves have said them to only have never meant them, never even knowing the power of what they meant, and in their blindness walked away beneath the power of the moon. Staring into those black eyes, she knows she loves the spirit behind them, more than any wolf she’s ever loved before, yet she knows that someday he too will walk away. The wildness within him will howl, and he will run, just as all the wolves before him.

Warm tears well in Luna’s eyes as she opens them and stares once more at the empty screen in front of her. She covers her face with hands, props her elbows on the end of the table and lets the cries of pain escape through her lips, a howling cry, a wearisome wail. 

Why does she cry?  Luna knows she’s wild, and something truly wild cannot ever be caged, cannot ever be tamed, cannot ever be possessed – only equaled by something just as wild, just as strong, just as powerful, and just as free.  She is a she-wolf that needs to run and not be caged. Her coat is beautiful, yet delicate.  She’s been broken so many times before by violent teeth, iron bars, and messy nets.  She is now tattered, torn, and frail, but she can still run, it’s all she knows.  Her strength comes from the earth.  Her heart comes from the moon.  The stars call to her and guides her toward her destiny.  The waves sing to her, telling her of the deep things.  The wind speaks to her and howls her name.  The rain washes the heaviness from her soul. The thunder and lightning energizes her and fills her with strength.

Luna wipes her face, takes a deep breath, and once more sets her fingers to the keys.  She knows she’s going to run.  Perhaps she knows her wolf won’t run next to her, but she can’t let his choice stop her.  The moon is calling her.  Her destiny awaits her.  She is a she-wolf goddess and her throne waits for her to return. Her scepter is the words she writes.  Her crown is her vision and drive.  It is a heavy crown and comes with much sacrifice, but she knows nothing great comes without a great cost. She also knows to be part of a pack is the easy way for an ordinary she-wolf, but she’s not ordinary and cannot ever be ordinary.

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.  Luna’s fingers fly across the keyboard.  With each stroke, her heart beats just a little bit faster.  Her hazel eyes widened with excitement.  Her gift flows through her, filling her, stirring her, pouring into her at the same time pouring out through her fingertips. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. The heavy beat of the music behind her moves her, pushes her, builds the moment must like the way her wolf makes love to her… building within her an explosive pressure, leading her toward a great release.

The words pour from her like a great river following around bends, navigating through rocks, and then plunging down over great falls.  Her imagination runs through the forest of fantasy like the spirit of her she-wolf, her feet barely touching the moss-covered ground, her heart racing as she dodges in and out hidden trails, inhaling the earthy scents of the forest, seeing all the vibrant natural colors. How wonderful would it be if another ran and witnessed the same beauty, but Luna knows only a wild wolf possesses such vision.

Ring. Ring.  Luna snaps out of her vision and her fingers rest once more on the keys.  She reaches over and pushes the power button on her iPod and silence fills the air that was just pulsating with heavy bass and erotic, tribal percussions.  Ring. Ring. Ring.

“Hey, babe,” Luna answers, eyeing the name of her wolf flash across the screen of her phone.

The tone of his voice through the phone tingles her ears, much like the way the drum beats just did a few moments ago through the music and she can’t help but smile. His soul draws her out of her imagination, leaving her wild trails to fade back into the recesses of her mind. Her mind now focuses on him, the memory of his touch, the intoxication of his scent, of the wildness inside him that is an explosive combination when it comes together with her own.  His bite is infectious.  His growl is erotic.

“What you doing tonight?” Luna’s nipples begin to ache and her breath shallows. Her soul knows it’s a new moon and she wants to howl tonight, to run and hunt with her wild wolf.

“I’ll be waiting for you.” Luna laid her phone down on the desk, glanced at the black font filling the page and smiled. Her wild-woman hazel eyes glowed as she shut the cover of her laptop. 

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Fairy Tale, Flash Fiction, Independence, Inspirational, Life, love, Philosophy, Relationships, Romantic, Short Story, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Where the Dead Things Are

Where the Dead Things Are

*New original short story Where the Dead Things Are© by T.L. Gray  – Part One

My Mama once told me, “If a man only wants to see you when the sun goes down, he’s a vampire. Baby, run away. He’ll bite you, leave you all mesmerized until he drains you of everything that makes you alive, and then he’ll toss you into his collection of other dead things.” She told me that once while braiding my hair. I remember looking into a dirty, smoke-stained mirror, watching vacant eyes stare off at nothing with a cigarette hanging out the side of pale thin lips. I can still see those small jagged lines along the edges displaying leftover bits of dark red lip stick. She looked younger when she smiled, but she hardly ever smiled.

Of course, my wild imaginative mind took the story literally to heart and in my youthful naivety found myself fascinated with the supernatural; vampires especially. Then after Mama died a few years later, I became obsessed with stories about death. However, I look back on that moment and realize she wasn’t talking about vampires at all, not really. I never thought Mama had much sense, but as I’ve met my own sort of vampire and found myself struggling to climb out of this cavernous pit of death, I now realize she was much deeper than I ever gave her credit.

Looking down at the shimmering Vodka, I see my dark red lipstick mark along the glass lip and can’t stop Mama’s words from echoing in the deep part of my mind. How did I get here? When did I lose myself and turn into Mama? Where had my soul gone? Will I find it among all the dead things?

I can tell you the exact moment, the particular hour, the definitive minute everything changed. It all started with the sound of tires slowly crunching over gravel as he pulled into my driveway. My heart started beating so fast I thought it would literally jump out my chest. It sounded too loud and I wondered if he’d be able to hear it. I quickly checked my underarms for moisture, because I was nervous as a chicken in a fox hole. My body may have been hot, but thank goodness I was dry and smelled like fresh flowers. My cinnamon breath caught as I gasped, almost letting out a small squeal as I heard the car door open and then close again. I never heard the engine at all. It’s like he floated in on a dream.

With shaky legs, I walked out the French doors that led to my patio-porch, and then to the privacy gate. He’d parked his car just on the other side. I could see the light green hue of his exterior between the fence slats before I caught a glimpse of him. It was only a slither of a glance of one of his long, bronze skinny legs sticking out a pair of basketball shorts, but I was transfixed. I tried to calm my breath as I opened the gate, but there was no controlling it. I’d lost it completely. It evaporated from my lungs altogether when my gaze locked onto those dark, brown, mesmerizing eyes and that soft crooked smile. The setting sun behind me cast a golden spotlight on his beautiful caramel skin, highlighting his chiseled face, full lips, and aura of authority. He looked like a god bathed in glory and I felt myself wanting to fall to my knees in worship. I mean I literally felt like falling when my knees suddenly buckled beneath me. I had to grab the wooden gate to keep the ground from jumping up and slapping me in the face.

Sometimes I wonder if he knew the effect he had on me. I doubted it, but I often wondered, still do. He always had a way of bringing the hidden things out of me, and reflecting my own image back at me when I tried so hard to focus on his. He didn’t have one. He was a mystery, yet something I understood without words, without explanation, and I loved him deeply. I still do. But he left me where the dead things are, tossed me to the side once he’d drained me of all the vibrant life I had once held. But I’m not without hope, not without magic. That’s what’s brought me to this bar in the middle of nowhere. I’m trying to escape, trying to save the last bit of my soul, trying to put some distance between me and him so that I may one day find the strength to resist him, breaking the power he has over me, and crawl out of this place of dead things. He doesn’t want me, but doesn’t want to let me go either.

I threw back the shot of vodka, feeling the burn all the way down my throat and settle into the emptiness of my stomach. Alcohol on an empty stomach always hurt, but it also helped the numbness rush in faster. I glanced down at my watch and realized the sun had surely already set outside. I needed to be on my way. He’d be able to find me. If he ever found me, I know I’d never have the strength to resist him. I pulled the small wad of twenty dollar bills I’d kept in my front jeans pocket. Slapped one down on the bar and then threw back the last of three shots I’d ordered. I wiped my soft lips with the back of my shaking hand and walked out of that dead place filled with other dead people, into a city where all the dead things are. Yet, I’m a survivor, and though too faint to hear, my heart still beats.

 

 

 

 

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Life, love, Short Story, T.L. Gray, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay a Little Longer

*Flash Fiction/Short Story by T.L. Gray

Stay a Little Longer

~

The second hand on the clock ticks, ticks, ticks away.

Father Time, make it stop. Keep me in this moment. Hold me in this place and time the way his arms hold me now.  How long?

Sensations prickle all over as he runs his thumb lightly over my shoulders and down my back. A steady heartbeat sings to me as my head rests on his chest.  He’s so swarm, so hard, so safe, so beautiful.  The scent of him makes me dizzy. My whole body worships him, aches for him, even now as our legs lay tangled. How long?

I’m home in his arms.  Please stop, clock.  Please let me stay a little longer.

Where do I end and he begin?  The most delicate flower, so intricate, so complex, doesn’t compare to his beauty.  His eyes, more dazzling than the darkest rose.  His scent, more intoxicating than the honeysuckle.  His beautiful skin, more exotic than any lily. The power he wields over me, more potent than the poppy. How long?

I lay bare before him, more than skin, more than flesh, all of me open and exposed, every deep and secret part of me, my soul, my heart.  How long?

I’m lost in his arms.  Please stop, clock.  Please let me stay a little longer.

When we come together we become one. We burn hot.  When we turn away, magnetic polarity ensues and an invisible force comes between us, pushing us apart – life, yesterday, tomorrow.  The world dims. I become numb, a pile of cold ashes.  How long?

The second hand on the clock ticks, ticks, ticks away.

~

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Jeff Suwak – Working Class People – The Prague Revue

Jeff Suwak – Working Class People – The Prague Revue.

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No Punchline – Jeff Suwak

I don’t often recommend stories, but I became a huge fan of this author last year when he started sharing his short stories for me to critic. Sometimes you just come across a writer that does more than tantilize your mind, but moves your soul.  Suwak does that for me in a similar way that Patrick Rothfuss, Mark Lawrence, J.K. Rowling and Anthony Ryan move me, or touch my soul the way Jack Kerouac does.

No Punchline: Or, the Night Chale Thayer Blew His Head Off at the Punch Drunk Comedy Club   is one of those such stories and I can recommend it more.

If you’ve been reading my blogs for any period of time,  you know how I look at the world, you know I see things with a deeper perspective, often touching on the emotional nerve that is connected to the heart of a story.  This story will deliver.  

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People Along the Path – Jeff Suwak – The Prague Revue

Check out the latest article “People Along the Path” by North Star author, Jeff Suwak, published in the Prague Revue. This touching story highlights some of the most interesting people and experiences of a young vagabond named Notion on the Appalachian Trail. You don’t want to miss it.

People Along the Path

Here is an excerpt:

I didn’t know much of anything about the Appalachian Trail when I decided to hike it. This was the late ’90s and I was vagabonding around the United States, so information wasn’t nearly as accessible as it is today. Someone had mentioned the Trail, it sounded like what I was looking for, so I did it. At twenty years old, my primary aim in life was to experience the sort of transcendent experiences that Jack Kerouac, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Wolfe wrote about. I was a writer, and I wanted to be a Writer, and the first step, far as I could see it, was to see things worth writing about, whatever the hell that meant. I wanted starry mountaintops, unnamed lakes, and green eyed vagabond girls. I wanted wildness and freedom and spiritual air. So it was that I hitched a ride with a trucker and headed to Amicalola Falls, Georgia to begin my journey. I never did find any of the things I was looking for.

What I discovered instead was a patchwork footpath pieced together through East Coast sprawl, a ragged trail populated by a part-time nomads armed with guidebooks that outlined in detail exactly what was to be found on every mile ahead. Few days passed where I didn’t cross at least one paved road. There were even fewer where I went more than a couple hours without crossing paths with another person.

At the time, the whole experience was one monstrous disappointment. I quit after a thousand miles because I got tired of hearing highway traffic in the distance. I went West, which was a mythical sort of place to a small town Pennsylvanian such as myself, to find real wilderness. Many more adventures ensued, but the funny thing is, as I look back on those early years now, the big adventures are foggy and distant and a bit cold. What sticks out much more brightly to me are all the people I met along the way to everywhere; and during quiet nights when I think back and reflect, the characters I met on the Trail are some of the most vibrant in my memory.

Hop on over to the Prague Revue and read the rest of the article.

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The Pick Up Line

 

The Pick Up Line

Here’s a snippet of my latest publication.  It’s one of my favorite short stories.  Please visit RoadsideFiction.com and check it out and the rest of the awesome stories published there.  

Here’s a snippet:

The Pick Up Line’ by T.L. Gray

Sidney couldn’t get her Mustang to go fast enough around the twisting, winding, and lonely back roads. She did all she could to avoid the traffic of interstates frequented by worker bees and corporate zombies, choosing instead to take the long route. Lost in thought of the life she’d fled, the roadside bar suddenly appeared like a ghost in the misty rain.

 

She turned off the car’s engine and gazed blankly at the dilapidated building. Her body ached all over as she climbed out of the car and walked toward the entrance. Sidney reached for the rusted knob on the ramshackled door. Just before she touched it, she hesitated, took a deep breath, and wrapped her fingers around the knob.

 

The name Jake’s splayed in cracked, faded red paint across the face of the muddied panes. It wasn’t a hip or happening place judging from the lack of cars in the graveled parking lot, but it looked the way she felt – neglected, forgotten, and run down. She opened the door and stepped into darkness.

 

As her eyes adjusted to the surroundings, Sidney cast a glance over the place, pleased to find it almost deserted. A middle-aged, fat, bald, brawny brute stood behind the bar staring up at a flat monitor on the wall. He threw a quick glance at her, but immediately returned his attention back to the basketball game. Another man, younger than the bartender, sat at the far end, his fingers tapping his beer bottle in tandem with this right leg bobbing up and down. He seemed consumed with the game playing across the screen.- See more at:

 

http://roadsidefiction.com/index.php/the-pick-up-line-by-t-l-gray/#sthash.ThOZiqcy.dpuf

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17th July

Check our this awesome article by author, writer,  and friend, Stuart. I agree with his sentiment 100%.

 

17th July.

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