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The Ode

Ode to the Writer

By Tom Foster

 

We are the lords and ladies of creation, yet we are still just players.
In the beginning we are as in the end.
We do not aspire, we simply do.
There is the dream, tempered by the reality, and given form by the thought.
By our thought, by our dreams, and by the reality we impose.
It’s a madness of the sort that only poets and writers can truly understand, and even among those only a few can comprehend.
Comprehension, that is a truly frightening thing.
We play with words, we are those that can immortalize, and those that can do what must be said and say what must be done.
It is confusion, this comprehension, and in the midst of it all, it is the single word that carries power, the one among all that is ever elusive, ever there, always waiting for us to return to, to remind us what it is that drives us, what keeps the fountain flowing.
Every last soul that has ever put ink to paper, ever put finger to key, every vague idea that swirls inward from the maelstrom we call the world, the universe, and everything in between and without.
For everything that could come, for everything that has and will come, we are there. We are the ones that do not deny the voice that tells us, “this must come to pass”, or “this must be remembered”.
It is who we are, what we do, and through everything, it is the lifeblood of those who cherish this timeless art form, this undeniable urge to say, in their own manner, “I AM”.
We are not gods, we create, and yet in the process, we are created. It is our words, penned and copied throughout the ages that have helped to shape the world, to say that, “WE ARE”, that “WE EXIST”.
Whether tyrant or savior, good or evil, saint or sinner, the words that are put to time’s test are those that will come to define the world we know. Memory is not enough, though it serves.
As do we.
We are the lords of creation, the ones whose words will last and echo into the ages, for all to see, and all to remember.
Is it truth?
The better question is: Does it matter?
We are the lords and ladies of creation, and by our words, the world we know is shaped, molded, and given to the next generation, and so on and so forth until the whole mess ends, only to be rebuilt, and to crumble again.
We are the lords and ladies of Creation, and this is our legacy.

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Things in the Snow (part VII)

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Vader, WA

They’d had a hard winter so far, but he could see vestiges of it departing even now as he sat looking out at the blanket of white that was diminishing ever so slowly. Eventually the woods would be back to dirt, mud, leaves and the low-lying vegetation that was such a useful hiding spot for creatures like those that he’d finally confronted.

He still didn’t know what they were since he’d never seen more than a glimpse of them, but the sound they’d made when he’d finally come outside had been something he might never forget. The ululating trill that sounded like something between a young coyote and a loon on the lake was haunting, almost sending a chill tingling down his spine as he thought about it now. But despite the uncertainty it had forced to emerge within him at first it had brought with it a sense of such utter joy that he’d found himself at ease almost a moment later as the churning in the snow had continued, even intensifying when he’d come outside.

It was as though they’d been happy to see that he’d made his way out to the deck, as though they’d been overjoyed that he had stepped outside the house to check on them. Again he still hadn’t seen much of them, just enough to know that they were big, serpentine in form, and obviously very adept at digging. They’d gone all over the side lawn between the deck and the forest, playing and rolling with such ferocity and agility that even when the snow had been disturbed enough to fly upward they’d still been obscured enough that he couldn’t get a good look at them.

But they’d sounded happy almost, and he could admit that it had been infectious as their cries had sounded throughout the night, causing him to feel so comfortable, so at ease, that he’d even rested his shotgun against the deck rail, forgetting it until he’d heard a strange snuffling sound near where he’d laid it. The moment he’d looked down however the creature that had seemed interested in the weapon was gone, another trilling cry making him laugh as he’d continued to watch the snow fly.

He still didn’t know what they were, but at this moment it no longer seemed to matter. They weren’t here to harm him, they were here to play.

Maybe next season they’d be back. He found himself hoping so.

The End

Preferred (part IX)

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June 24th, 2019

Bethany Square

Beaverton, OR

Tate leaned back in his chair as Paula’s mouth gaped open. The woman was trying to say something, but her voice hadn’t returned after the initial shock of his words. Finally though she found her voice.

“I can’t believe you just said that.”

“Believe it,” Tate said with a sigh, “It’s only been a day but I’ve never seen more disrespect or bullshit in so little a time as I have now. I wade into a fight that I can’t hope to win after seeing Adrienne being beaten down for something I don’t know about, only to hear ‘rape’ screamed when I go to see if the person being assaulted is okay.”

He noted Adrienne glaring at him out of the corner of his eye, perhaps because he hadn’t used her preferred pronouns. But he didn’t care, his blood was up, and he’d done nothing wrong. She could fuss and fume all she wanted to, he wasn’t done.

“Upon being taken to the courthouse I’m then subjected to an Antifa gathering and protesters that would rather beat the living daylights out of me and terrorize my wife by trying to tip her car over. Then I was taken back into the courthouse after trying to get to her. After that I had to be escorted out to her car by the cops so that no one would try anything.”

“I-“

“I’m not finished,” he said, cutting Paula off as his voice stayed at a reasonable level, “When I get home to where my family sleeps, plays, and lives, I find that Antifa has somehow gotten my address and has come calling with enough people for me to worry over as I put my wife and children inside after telling her to call the cops. If not for my neighbors I might have been in serious trouble. But thankfully Antifa are a bunch of wet-nosed punks that soil themselves when someone fights back.”

Paula seemed to be glaring at him now, indicating that he’d touched a nerve. Good.

“Then today I’m conducting an interview trying to tell my side of the story and get it right, and you decide to come waltzing in to give an apology that’s neither heartfelt,” he shifted his gaze to Adrienne, “or honest.”

When the young woman looked up at him, her cheeks flushed as she was ready retort in her defense, he continued with “So yes, Adrienne, I admit, I should have kept walking and let the thugs finish what they started. My life would certainly have turned out simpler at this point, and my family wouldn’t have had to endure what they have to this point.”

Adrienne worked up her nerve to say, “I’d appreciate it if you used my preferred pronouns.”

Tate smiled, shaking his head at her as he sat up again, facing the reporter this time.

“Did you get all you need? I should probably be getting back to my family now.”

(to be concluded)

The Celebrity Standard

“In order for laws to work they must apply to everyone, or they can apply to no one.”

-Anonymous

Celebrities do hard time, it’s been seen in the past. But thanks to their influence, their money, and the fact that a lot of them have ‘promising careers they don’t want to tarnish’ these days it seems than apology and house arrest, community service, or something equally as mundane seems to be the going punishment. Is that fair? Is it just? Does anyone still care at this point or are we all getting to the point that we simply accept that celebrities can get away with just about anything so long as they’re currently popular?

It’d be sad to say yes to most of those questions since it means that we hold celebrities to standards that are much less than what we as citizens are held. Those that we look up to, idolize, and even see as heroes in a way, are also those that can tend to get away with such things as DUI, assault and battery, drug possession, and a host of other crimes without doing much more than paying the court clerk and promising to never do it again. Meanwhile, those that are a part of the public are finding themselves jailed for traffic-related offenses that some celebrities might just walk away from.

Why?

Why in the world would we hold another human being, no matter if they’re a celebrity, to a different standard? Aren’t they just as human as we are? Aren’t they bound by US law and able to be prosecuted like anyone else? Don’t they accept what this country has to give while they’re exercising their many liberties? Yeah? Well then they can pay for their mistakes as well by imposing fines instead of allowing them an easy bail amount that will have them back where they want to be while having learned nothing except how to once again grease the wheels.

Celebrities are human beings that are just as subject to the laws as anyone, maybe it’s time for a reminder, though it’s hard to see why it’s necessary.

Conspiracy Theorists Unite

The current issue with Jussie Smollett almost seems like a slam dunk to some people while others are holding on to the hope that his professed innocence is real. Unfortunately for Smollett there seems to be a lot of glaring inaccuracies that are working against him at this time, such as the idea that he felt the need to stage this fake hate crime as a means of gaining attention for the fact that he was having a salary dispute with the show, Empire.

Whether that’s true or not, the collusion, it would seem that some people are beginning to ride the fence and some are beginning to sway towards the idea that he is in fact guilty, hands down and no doubts about it. If he is then there’s a real choice to be made by those in our legal system, and it has to do with the fact that celebrities tend to receive very lenient sentences for the things they do, and that it’s in no way equal to the rest of society.

Doubt that and dispute it all you want, and then check out the list of crimes that celebrities have been accused of and even convicted of before being allowed to plead to lesser crimes and being given lesser sentences that include almost no jail time and no real consequences for their actions. If Smollett is handled the same, should he be found guilty, then it will be another step towards the proof that we do live in an equal society where the color of your skin and/or your sexual preferences are no longer a determining factor. It will affirm that money and influence are the real dividers within a society, much as it has been for a much longer time.

Don’t Defy, Don’t Rage, Simply Smile

The inevitability of the end is something that’s scary to many people and welcoming to some as it signifies a chance to move on, to see what else lies beyond the veil. But some run from it, some try to hide from it, and others try to deny it as long as possible. In the end though the only thing we can do is accept it and see this end as a possible new beginning that leads us towards another existence that we know little to nothing about and could possibly be a part of a much larger cycle that is beyond what we imagine life and death to be like.

It’s this idea that makes many lose that fear of death, that overwhelming dread of the specter that looms over us all on a daily basis, waiting to pluck the unwary from their supposedly safe perch and send them along the next path that may or may not be decided for them.

Who knows? To rage against the dying of the light might be to deny the emergence of another life that might lead to yet another horizon where awaits another existence that is better or simply different than this one. Karma almost seems to indicate that what you do in life does in fact echo in eternity and may very well determine what kind of path you’ll continue to walk once this one is finished. Will you loop back to set things right in a different life, or will you be allowed to move on and contribute to the cycle once again? These are interesting questions that many theologians might actually be willing to debate if they are wise without being arrogant.

But then that’s about as hard to find as anyone that’s been there and can give an accurate accounting of just what lies on the other side of the veil. In that regard, it might be best just to offer up a friendly smile when the time comes, and greet death as an old friend, not an enemy.

All the Stories that Don’t Get Told….

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Is anyone else frustrated at the effort that Hollywood has been putting into remaking and rebooting so many different movies from the past decades lately? Every time we see another trailer we think it might be something new, exciting, and most of all, NEW. There are those movies that come out of course, and some of them are smash hits, but then there are those that all but destroy your favorites from the past and for what, a chance that the new one might create a legacy all of its own.

So far a lot of that legacy has been tainted by the fact that, well, a lot of the reboots are horrible. The one featured above, Total Recall, wasn’t horrible, but it did have a lot of the same elements that made it seem like the distant cousin of the original. The effects were more advanced of course, and the story was different enough to be its own creature, but it was still a remake that a lot of people groaned at.

Does Hollywood not realize how many stories are out there just waiting to be plucked? All those tomes, all those stories that have been sitting around for who knows how long, just waiting for someone to come along and see some possibility, some potential to be made into a hit film. But no, that would be work remember, and right now they seem to want whatever’s available, hot off the press, and ready to go. But wait, how many are they leaving behind to make the reboots and remakes? See how frustrating it is?

At this point a reboot or a remake seems like the easy way, relatively-speaking. Making a movie isn’t an easy process after all, but selecting which story to use for an epic is something you’d think that teams of writers would be used for in order to find something that hasn’t been done and done again in only slight variations of the same thing throughout the years. Sometimes it’s necessary to break the patterns and go by something else, just to shock the audience and make them realize that the happy ending isn’t always going to be possible, that the words “to be continued” aren’t going to follow a sad and tragic ending.

There are movies like this of course, but how many are being left behind to molder on the shelves while the old stories get done and redone again and again?

Take a look at the shelves folks, there are untold numbers of tales just waiting for someone to say “Let’s do something different.”

Things in the Snow (part VI)

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Vader, WA

Night came too damned fast in his opinion this day. Most of the time it was a slow to mediocre progression throughout the day. He woke up, did what he needed to around the house, and then just spent some time with a good book or catching up with a few of his favorite shows. That NCIS was still a good show despite going into reruns every so often.

But night did inevitably come, and he knew that he’d meant to make his way outside tonight to make sure that he wasn’t crazy, that there was something out there. His gun would be making the excursion with him of course, but he was almost hoping that he wouldn’t have to use it. He didn’t know why that feeling came over him, but it did.

Something about the things out there was beginning to seem almost familiar to him, though he couldn’t figure out why for the life of him. Something about the way that thing had looked at him last time seemed to elicit a spark in his mind that he couldn’t quite figure out. But despite his hesitation he knew that a word made in his head was just as good as a word made to anyone aloud. He had to keep it, or it would torture him incessantly.

With a heavy sigh he looked to the sliding glass door that separated his deck from his kitchen. They were already out there, busily churning away as he could see.

Taking the first step he reached for the door.

(to be concluded)

Preferred (part VIII)

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June 24th, 2019

Bethany Square

Beaverton, OR

There was a part of Tate that was ready to smirk and give the young woman hell for what she’d done to his reputation, or tried to. But just looking at her Tate could already see that she was miserable. Her heavy frame was quaking as she could barely look at him through her thick spectacles, her blue hair hanging limply around her face as she wrung her hands in front of her. She obviously didn’t want to be here.

“Can I help you?” Tate asked in a polite tone.

The other woman, this one’s mother he believed from their resemblance, aside from the blue hair, smiled uneasily as she spoke.

“Yes, my name is Paula Norski, and this is my daughter, Adrienne.” She offered a glance at her daughter, but the younger woman didn’t bother returning the look. “She has something to tell you.”

The young woman seemed pent up at that moment, turning to her mother as she opened her mouth. Before she was able to however Tate could see as Paula rolled her eyes in a ‘here it comes again’ manner.

“I told you mom! My preferred pronouns are they, them, and their! Why can’t you just support me for once?!”

“Just say what you have to say so we can get out of here!” Paula snapped back, “You’re embarrassing me right now!”

Adrienne seethed, but as she turned to Tate she seemed to at least be trying to calm herself. Taking a breath she spoke to him this time.

“I’m sorry for my words under the bridge. You weren’t raping me, but I was being attacked and didn’t know who was who at that point.” Tate nodded, but she wasn’t done as she went on, “You probably should have left me alone though. Because you can really scare someone just by rushing up to them like that-“

“Adrienne!” Paula gaped, looking to Tate and then back to her daughter.

“You’re right,” Tate said, interrupting them both as he sat back. That got their attention like nothing could have, but what he said next had even the reporter gaping at him.

“I should have left you alone and let the thugs have their way.”

(to be continued)

True Strength

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So many people focus on being strong, on being the strong one, on being the brave one, the rock, the person that can take anything and shelter anyone from the world.

That’s not strength.

Real strength doesn’t lie in being pure and unbroken. It’s not the necessity of never being tested beyond your limits, nor is it the ability of a person to never crack under pressure.

Those that have cracked, that have broken, and that have had to pick up the pieces know about real weakness, and they know about real strength. The true power of any individual is to get back up when life gets hard. It’s the ability to come back from nothing and regain something that they know can be taken away again.

Life isn’t a kind and benevolent thing at every turn, the broken people know this while those that remain intact have yet to figure it out. The more you push forward the more life will do its best to break you, to chip away the resolve you prize so highly. Once it does, it will lay you wide open to the world, and every last weakness you possess will be bared. Will you be strong enough to pick up those pieces and pull yourself together?

Real strength doesn’t come from being strong and unchallenged. It comes from having been broken. It comes from summoning up the courage, the nerve, and the willpower to keep going.

Real strength is the will to keep moving forward when the worlds intent is to keep you on your knees. Real strength, the core of any human being, comes being able to grin when the world knocks you down and keep taking it. You can break again and again, but so long as you get up, the world will come to know that you are strong, and you aren’t going anywhere.

Real strength is the power to keep moving forward.

Trying to See the Light Through the Darkness

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Everybody wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to pay the price to get there. Some claim they’re ready, that their soul is prepared, and that they’ve made good with their maker. Some claim they’ll square up when they get to the gates. Others don’t worry about the tally until that time comes, then they decide to unload it all at once when the final hour approaches. The one thing that everyone has in common is that they’ll all be taking the same road to get there.

If you think you get to avoid hell by being a good person you’re mistaken. There are untold hells that aren’t just soul-scorching flames, demons, chains of ice, or untold levels of torment. The legendary hell we speak of so often isn’t the place that anyone need fear. It’s the hell we see in this life that many people have come to realize is the worst of the lot, and the only hell that really matters.

We create our own hell, and it’s so much worse than anything any devil or demon could conjure up. People are more than adept at creating a hellish nightmare of their life that seems inescapable and leads to nowhere good. It’s been seen that some folks sink into this mire without thought and without regard for anyone, least of all themselves. No horned being or demigod that can flay the skin from your bones is nearly as terrifying as being stuck within the miasma of your own mind as you sink deeper and deeper into depression that consumes your ever waking thought. The soul-burning flames of the hell we speak of so frequently are nothing compared to the waves of doubt and self-despair that eat at person’s soul like locusts upon a wheat field.

The cries of despair that go unheard by those that don’t understand how to rely upon others are infinite, as so many have succumbed to the hell they create. There is no hell like that created by the mind of a human being.

The struggle back to the light is real, and the attempt to reach a vantage from which to see the heavenly peaks once again is possible. But for many that trip through self-doubt, despair, hopelessness, and unending tides of guilt, is something that will never happen, as they’re simply too bogged down in their own deceit and feelings of worthlessness to seek the light.

There are those that will help them, angels in human form, guardians that offer hard but possible pathways back to the light. It might even surprise you that a few demons along the way will offer guidance and a firm hand in what not to do, and how not to lapse back into the mire that has claimed so many.

If you want to get to heaven, you’ll have to go through a bit of hell first.