Mustread

A Hare’s Breath

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He drank what he drew
From metaphor
He went out on a journey
Disrobed a stripe
And the stripe
Was broken
There was not one straight
Line to stand on
So he sprinted up a monolith
Back flipped onto a monomyth
He thought am I trying
To understand
Or am I trying to go around
Or go against it?
He wanted to break
The monomyth
But every time he struck it
The more uncreative and
More un-understandable
It would get
It occurred to him
That he might have missed
By a hare’s breath
It also occurred to him
He was fragmented
His journey became
An un-narrative
clburdett, 2016

Defaced

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I failed to see beauty, utmost
Turned into an image, beaten down
Fleeing from my growing back
A monstrous hump was formed
I turned into a statistic, a run down Motel where
You lift the bed and bring your own sheets
I turned into a statistic,
Cloaked in deranged pity
And my soul awoke one day, found my
Body bleeding under a pillow case
My soul wasted no time on me
My soul didn’t pair well with my
Memories
Memories that turned me into
The most heinous, biggest ball of
Guilt there ever was
Defaced by an untamed scratch
Defaced by a tongue needing to cool
And all around me were strings
Getting pulled

Clburdett, 2015

 

 

 

 

Pedal Pushing

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When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

It’s a bike up hill
Rising in your seat
And sweaty
It’s cotton candy
Fluffed up in humidity
It’s an early wake up call
A rule of the road–
Don’t predict the weather
Don’t underestimate the road

It’s a friend who believes
Your voice dictates your internal pain
It’s a bookcase filled with books
Waiting to be shared or read again
It’s an unknown source of grievance
Another rule of the road–
Don’t predict pain
It’s unpredictable

It’s rod iron thrusting
Out life and sweating to
Get to the top of
Another top to get to
Total pedal to the metal
And enjoying
And weeping and finally
Praying to get you there
Oh God Oh God Oh God!
It makes you believe again
More rules of the road–
Our spirit is unpredictable

Rules of the road
With a little wind advisory–
Keep it light; hills are steep
You’re not in a rocket ship
So don’t count on relativity
You’re not a time traveler
You’re a real human being
On the bike of life
Pedal pushing

Clburdett,  2015

continue reading…

 

Sundowner

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I woke up before the speed of light could

release me

and my thoughts were half asleep

music in my mind playing

the music stopped when I opened my eyes

and that peaceful moment between

sleep and reality

lent breath and I realized

I failed my dreams

a whole life was spent

running, frustrated

hiding behind the bushes

naked

the day was spent with friends

and family no longer alive

the day was spent climbing roof tops

landing on my feet

and flying

The day went down with the sun

unopened boxes of dreams were fading

while looking around I saw

the night trespassing

as the last rays of light were withering

like a fragile mortal

and I am trapped in a world

where small boats can’t survive

the torment of a vast emotional ocean

where I no longer have lives to spare

no family all in one room laughing

no high peaks, acrobatics, cloud hopping

timeless cells tracing in and out

of a wild open territory

and of a tamed bound beast

to a horizon let down,

bereaved

 

Free Sol

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There still the sun

None so ever equaled

All is measured from

Light rays and speeds and

Galaxies intermingling

Just a small measurement brings

In the whole universe

Just a small sample of dust

Tells us about life

There still the sun

When you are losing, tiring, weeping

It is on a fight-path for us and holding

There is no way off this earth

You may feel life is moving faster than you

But breathing stands against 1 in 100,000,000 odds

If we don’t do anything today

We are still creating

Life still exists

Force is in stillness

Radiating stillness

In a vast vacuum of a never-ending dream

92 million miles away!

Bathing in the rays of exploration

And love

 

The Deconstruction of Horror

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On the eve of All Hallow’s Eve, Oct. 30, 1938, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), broadcasted, by radio, a taste of H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds.  This taste of terror, dramatized by Orson Welles, involved the planet Mars and its deadly invasion on the state of New York.  A million listeners tuned in that night listening in fear and disbelief, while thousands, in panic, called radio and police stations, and while others fled, taking all they had, to escape the horror.  According to Noel Carroll, who wrote Philosophy of Horror, horror can be defined as a mixture of fear and disgust (fear alone is not enough to be horror).  If the horror is fact or fiction, the body still produces the same terrifying physiological responses (i.e., rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, heightened alertness, and more). The people of New York, in 1938, are no different from you and me. What makes their situation different is their world was on the brink of WWII.  This means an invasion from Mars would not had been as unfathomable as a blood thirsty dictator warring for world domination.

The genre of horror is a billion dollar business.  Two big billion dollar franchises are Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th.  Around Halloween, most people get in the mood to read a scary book or try a scary movie.  Basically, there are many types of horror which include: gore, teen, romantic, psychological, thriller, suspense, and science fiction.  There are six elements one may apply to deconstruct the genre of horror:  Supernatural/magical objects and events, superhuman antagonist and/or monster, limited space/setting, limited senses, limited options, and limited time.  By applying these elements one may understand the makings of horror.

Supernatural/magical objects and events:  Unexplained and bizarre phenomena are part of supernatural/magical objects and events.  Supernatural/magical objects are anything that can be seen or touched.  For example, a possessed doll, a killer car, a cursed talisman, or a not too friendly ghost. An event is an occurrence or happening.  A supernatural/magical event can be living in a house run by peeved poltergeist, a zombie ambush, a deadly virus threatening to cause world extinction, an alien invasion, and an evil spell cast by a vengeful witch posse.  These objects and events go beyond scientific reasoning and rationality which create the story’s suspense. Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone (1959-1964), delved in the bizarre and the supernatural. For example, if Talking Tina (possessed psycho doll and trailblazer to Chucky), in Twilight Zone’s “Living Doll,” felt a little unappreciated, that person was sure to be the next mangled rug mat at the bottom of the stairwell.

Superhuman antagonist and/or monster are what create the horror within the story.  In rare instances, the monster is an “internal affair” (i.e., monster within) as in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Identity.  A superhuman antagonist and/or monster possess unnatural strength, omnipotence, and intelligence (this can be a person, animal, insect, place, or thing).  An example of unnatural strength is when it takes 5 shots of cyanide, 6 bullets to the head, and 7 gassed up motor vehicles to plow down the monster.  The monster is always a potential threat i.e. two steps behind then two steps in front (how do they do it?).  Monsters that possess superhuman intelligence have a myriad of skills i.e., a twisted MacGyver or a jacked-up jack-of-all-trades.  At times, the superhuman antagonist and/or monster may be masked (i.e., Michael Myers, Jason, and Jigsaw).  If the superhuman antagonist is not masked then 1.) They appear in a humanoid form i.e., shape-shifter, vampire, werewolf, swamp thing, demon lizard, or ghost inhabiting another human body (to name a few); and 2.) They look like the next store neighbor until they start visibly going nuts and start using a knife as the only form of communication.  The superhuman antagonist and/or monster is always present until they slip out for another day (dormant stage), are chased away (purged stage), or defeated by a pure protagonist (annihilated stage). Horror cannot be defeated until the conflict is solved by a pure protagonist or a pure act of selflessness. Unfortunately, in horror, the good guys/gals do not always win (some die brutal, bloody deaths).  Whether the protagonist beats the monster or not, the scars still remain.

Limited space/setting: The characters cannot escape and are trapped in their environment unable to receive immediate help from the outside.  The characters become helpless and a product of their deadly environment. Without a horrific setting or a good trap there is no horror.  Horror places a reader/viewer squarely in the middle of conflict which adds to uncertainty and confusion (for character and audience).  A limited environment can be a haunted house, a blizzard (like in The Shinning), a storm (like in Psycho), and a flood (like in Identity).  An unknown wilderness is another notorious horror setting.  The space is limited because the victims do not have the knowledge to escape i.e., the trio lost in the woods in The Blair Witch Project.  A timeless staple to the genre of horror comes from novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s, “It was dark and stormy night” (1830).  Darkness creates limited space because one cannot see or find a way out (darkness limits one’s senses, too).  At times, limited space is controlled by the monster which makes it impossible to escape (i.e., altered reality, riddle, or trap).  The monster is more knowledgeable of the space (unnatural intelligence) than the victim i.e., a hunter vs. its prey as in Wrong Turn, Vacancy, and The Strangers.

Limited senses:  Limited senses are broken down to physical and psychological.  Limited senses impair the character’s ability to reach a safe setting or reality esp. in The Nightmare on Elm Street, The Birds, and Salem’s Lot.  This happens when the characters are struggling to out-run or out-smart the monster. That’s why the audience yells, “Look out!” because the characters are too naive, ill, physically hurt, drugged/liquored up (from their own stash), or paranoid to see they are leaving a safe environment into killer territory.  Limited physical senses include impaired judgment (had a little too much to smoke or drink), impaired hearing, blindness, broken (mangled, damaged, and half eaten) appendages, and illness (from poison, ancient spell, or virus) which slow the victims down. In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Roderick’s senses were too acute and Madeline’s senses were too dull.  A person with acute senses becomes paranoid and the slightest sounds and movements (snap of a twig, flicker of the light, or creaking in the house puts them uneasy). Those with dull senses become bait for the monster and are the first to go.  For example, the cocky cop who doesn’t believe those crazy teens that a psychotic killer is on the loose always gets whacked before the second reel.  Limited by their pride, fear, greed, rage, or lust, these characters fall under psychological limited senses.  Basically, their emotions set them up to fall into the hands of the monster.  Most people who fall to the sexual mercy of Dracula end up bitten.  Those who fall into paranoia, because of cabin fever, begin to turn on each other when it is the monster they need to collectively defeat.

Limited options: Why is there never good help when you need it?  Victims of limited options are usually isolated from anyone who can help them. Problems always arise because of limited options and/or resources. Limited options are like hurdles the characters must jump over to survive. When in trouble, there is never a loaded gun, a phone signal, a reliable car, a bright enough flashlight, or a compadre who can stay alive without getting themselves killed. There are no easy ways out in the genre of horror.  Options are few, and sometimes, if not, deadly.  One’s virtue comes into question because now the mantra is, “Kill or be killed.”  In a safer environment, one has all the time in the world to make the best decisions without having to go against the moral belief system of, “Thou shall not kill.” Running is the victims first option; however, running just prolongs the game of cat and mouse. Sometimes the monster has limitations, as in Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, and will make the characters/victims believe they have no options i.e., a supernatural, murderous devil that bullies the fearful townsfolk of Little Tall Island to procure, for himself, an heir.

Limited time:  There is not enough time to make rational decisions in the genre of horror. Characters’ lives are time-bond.  When the characters fall prey to the monster, the clock starts ticking.  The genre of horror follows a time schedule; hence, that is why characters are always on the run.  Life and death are connected to time.  In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” pompous Prince Prospero is on borrowed time until Death takes him home.  Time based thrillers include, The War of the Worlds, The Ring, and Dawn of the Dead.  Time may be linked to starving to death, bleeding to death, and going insane (those are a few).  Characters struggle for survival is crucial because now the monster is not only after the protagonist; the monster is after you.  According to Noel Carroll, horror is the only genre where the audience becomes emotionally involved (you are not the monster’s prey– why are you afraid?).  In studies on non verbal communication, people are more likely to imitate or “mirror” non verbal emotions of fear and distress than they are to imitate positive emotions like happiness and pleasure. Fear and distress pull people in quicker, raising physical adrenaline (and adrenaline is very addicting). Basically, horror is the proverbial train wreck one cannot take their eyes from. For that reason, horror is one of the most powerful genres (more powerful than sex and romance combined).

This model on the deconstruction of horror is an excellent starting point in understanding what makes a book or film scary (revealing patterns behind the madness). With the rising

Writers of Havasu Heat Up the Summer Book List 2013

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Lake Havasu City is growing in the “Arts”! We have a community-music-ensemble for those whose gift is to sing, a community-theater-troupe for those whose gift is to act; and now, a community of writers whose gift is the tumultuous task of putting their heart’s work unto paper. Every two months, Lake Havasu City Writers Group, budding and published authors, meet to network and share their talents in writing. And, every second Saturday of the month, Lake Havasu City’s Book Exchange (being one of Havasu’s best spots in relaxing with a favorite book or acquiring a myriad of literature for all ages) promotes these talented writers where the community can come chat, eat, drink, and get personalized autographs from our very own author community. It’s a great time to make new friends, realize a dream, and read new and exciting literature. Whether you are buying or browsing, the Book Exchange welcomes you! Listed below are the authors, their bios, and best-selling books. Summer is on the way and I hope you, like me, will begin shopping around for the prefect summer reading materials right here in Lake Havasu City. I guarantee you will not be disappointed in Havasu’s 2013 hot summer reads.

Kelley Heckart
I am an author and editor living in Lake Havasu City with my musician husband. My stories reflect my passion for ancient and early medieval history, storytelling, and the supernatural. My latest series is a trilogy set in the Dark Age Scotland, where an ancient curse links an Irish clan to a vengeful goddess. When I’m not daydreaming about handsome warriors and otherworldly creatures, I enjoy making decorative crosses for my Etsy store. My published novels are Of Water and Dragons, Ravenwolf, White Rose of Avalon, Daughter of Night, Dark Goddess Trilogy: Cat’s Curse, Beltaine’s Song, and Winter’s Requiem. You are invited to come visit my web site at http://www.kelleyheckart.com.

E. V. Medina
I am a blogger, internet writer, illustrator, graphic designer, and author living with my husband in Lake Havasu City. I co-authored a sci-fi medieval fantasy novel called Realmwalkers, which is also available in e-book form. My solo project, a medieval fantasy romance e-book called The Priestess and the Ravenknight, is now available at Amazon.com. Sticking to the same genre, I’m now writing another novel based on the world of Tiaera about pirates and sirens with the working title: The Sirens of Swansong. Information on all of these books can be found on my blog: The World of Tiaera at www.tiaera.blogspot.com. Check out my blog to download a free chapter of Realmwalkers.

Finnean Nilsen Projects
I write with my brother under the hard to remember and nearly impossible to spell-name of our production company: Finnean Nilsen Projects. I’ve spent most of my life around books, and I can remember reading a Don Pendleton at twelve and thinking “$#!%, I can do better than that!” (Yes, I had an extensive vocabulary, even at that age). I think we’ve succeeded to a certain degree, as our zombie series Outpost has been called “awesome” (J. Hinds – Amazon Reviewer) and that it’s “one of the best zombie books about” (Mrs. Z J Burton – Amazon UK Reviewer) with “so much action I find myself holding my breath” (April Mohinani – Goodreads Reviewer). You can find our books locally at the Book Exchange or online at Amazon.com, where we offer giveaways semi-regularly. Visit us at www.finneannilsenprojects.blogspot.com.  

Layne Walker
Once the writing bug got hold of me three years ago, I realized I had a natural talent. I joined the Lake Havasu Writers Group (www.lhcwriters.com), who helped me hone my skills with short fiction assignments. To date, I have published a short-story collection and two action adventure novels. My next novel will be out the end of April. I like incorporating Lake Havasu area in my novels. Check out my website www.laynewalkerbooks.com where you can find action, adventure, wonder, and suspense.

David Bellomy
I’m a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, a crime scene investigator and a retired Sheriff’s Captain. My career included employment at the FBI and Army Crime Laboratories. Born on the vast plain of the Mojave Desert, I earned my Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate University. I am a lifelong advocate for the Mojave habitat and indigenous species.  All these facts are reflected in my first book–Tude: A Story from the Mohave Desert.
 
Paul L. Bailey
After more than 30 years of life in the greater Portland, Oregon area, my wife April and I moved to Lake Havasu City, Arizona three years ago. A long time member of Toastmasters International, I was pleased to join the Lake Havasu chapter and finish earning my designation as Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). In addition to Toastmasters, I found new friends and an outlet for my love of technology at the HavaMac club (www.havamac.com), an Apple products user group. I wrote my first novel, The World Beyond in 2005 and when I learned that in addition to public speaking and technology groups, our new city was also the home of the Lake Havasu City Writers Group, I had to join. With the kind words and insightful critiques of the group, I wrote my second novel, Fate’s Knight last summer and was thrilled to experience such a high level of acceptance that I recently finished my third novel, Knight Fall, a sequel to Fate’s Knight. Author signed copies of Fate’s Knight are currently available on my website, (www.easytimepublishing.com). Unsigned copies are available at our local Hastings Entertainment store as well as on Amazon.com. Knight Fall will be available soon. Keep an eye on my website for pre-launch special pricing and book signing details.

Tom Novak
My name is Tom Novak and I’m retired. For the last 12 years, I’ve been spending my winters in Lake Havasu City and have been writing since the late 1960s. I am a member of the Lake Havasu City Writers Group. I am mainly a Crime Mystery/Historical Novelist. Published works include Among the Tin Cans and Broken Glass and latest book, Alley Justice, which is about a cop in Detroit named Jake Bush during the 1960s and 1970s. You can find me on Amazon.com and barnesandnobel.com. My e-book versions are available at Smashwords.com under T.A. Novak.

Sharon Poppen
I retired from Pacific Bell in 1992 and moved to Lake Havasu City, AZ. Once settled, I began taking classes at MCC (Mohave Community College). I have always loved to write fiction; but, until I was encouraged by my professors at MCC, I never dreamed I could be published. Before getting my AA in English, one of my poems was published. Since then, I have won awards from the Arizona Authors Association and the National League of American Pen Women. I now have four published novels—After the War, Before the Peace, Hannah, Abby: Finding More Than Gold, and Regardless. More information on me and my books can be found at www.sharonpoppen.com.  Print and e-copies of my short stories can be found in anthologies that include: A Flasher’s Dozen, Desert Treasures, Skive, Offerings from the Oasis, A Long Story Short, Apollo Lyre, Laughter Loaf and many others. I am a member of the Lake Havasu City Writers Group. My goals are—write everyday, publish as often as possible, and enjoy life every moment.

Dolors Altaba
I was born in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Now, I live in Lake Havasu City with my husband. I obtained a Ph.D. in English at State University of New York at Stony
Brook, a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees at the University of California, San Diego, and a Catalan Philology Degree at the University of Barcelona. My published works include: Aphra Behn’s English Feminism: Wit and Satire (1999), Idle Risks, a comedy, (2011), Steps Ahead, a play, (2013), and “Roots of Change” in Embryonic Landscapes (2001). I have written essays in literary magazines and stories in Offerings from the Oasis: 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. My books are available at Amazon.com and Hastings. If you like to know more, contact me at smilinglake@gmail.com.

Marji Kilb
Since moving to Lake Havasu City, exploring and writing about our fascinating desert, mountains and waterways has become my favorite pastime. I’ve been published