Photo Challenge: Fiction – Spectre of Death #amwriting #fiction #death


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s photo prompt: 

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Credit: “Minutes to Midnight” – http://www.hunternif.deviantart.com

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Time’s clock is forever ticking above death’s throne. The clock’s glass face absorbes the colours of the landscape where death resides. The greyish-green of the stone mass, a floating island, and the pinky-red fire of the sky above and below, reflects on the clock’s face. 

The figure of death sits soberly in his throne. The stone carved form a perfect fit for his lanky tall body. Beneath death’s left and right hands, the leering skulls of his first two victims sit. They are from our first two ancestors, people who lived exceptionally long compared to the humans living in modern times. Adam and Eve had tried to evade death, even though they knew he was coming for them. They had been ignorant and had no idea what death actually meant until they breathed their last. 

Their souls he’d had to let fly in heaven, gold birds with giant wings exploring their freedom and return to painlessness. He had kept their skulls, though one day he knew he would have to return them. For now, Adam and Eve’s skulls peered eerily out onto whichever soul was before death seated on his throne. Together with the dying person, death watched their last seconds of life tick away. He towered over them in his realm and let their soul sour to heaven or to hell, there was no inbetween except him. 

Some souls who stood before him were not afraid. This always amazed death. He was an imposing figure, giant and fearsome, his red hair as consuming flames, and his eyes burning coals. Some humans gazed up at him with what frightened death as wisdom, something they had gained, which few knew, not even him. Their souls flew away and he knew he would never see them again. Other people crumbled before him and he took time to torment them whether they went below or above. He was death after all, a fearsome being. 

Yet, he had no control where a soul went. Death had no power to choose or to do as he wanted. He had a job, a task. He was death, he killed; but he was not merely an end. He was also the beginning. What he valued most of all, freeing those souls trapped in decaying bodies or in bodies injured profusely. Death was a contradiction of terms, both good and evil. Souls of faith went above and souls of disbelief went down to hades. Even death was afraid of what lay far beneath him in the abyss. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Not Ready for Kids


” Look at the girl in that back seat signing to us,” Eve told Adam, pointing. ” How cute, she must be bored from the long car ride.” Adam scoffed.

” What is it with you and kids?” Adam asked Eve, ” You love my bratty nieces and nephews  and now you adore some little girl in a passing car’s window?”

” What’s wrong with liking kids? Your sister’s kids are well behaved and they like me as much as I like them.”

“Do you have to talk about kids? Can’t we be childless adults in our thirties? I feel as if you’re suggesting we should have kids.” Adam told Eve, appearing wan. 

Eve began to laugh boisterously.”It’s not funny,” Adam said trying not to smile.

“It’s hilarious Adam. You’re the only kid I can handle right now.” Eve said rubbing Adam’s arm.”Maybe, when you stop getting us kicked out of the bar, we can think about children.” 

“Eden, the bar we went to last night?” Adam asked,”I don’t remember drinking that much. . .Wait a minute! Who are you to talk Eve? You’re the one who kept buying me drinks last night, temptress.” 

Eve smiled. “Nope, I guess we’re not ready for kids.”

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Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting FFftPP.

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©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

A List of Words with Meaning


1. John Donne – “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning.” Lines 12-24. 

Why I love it? I love this poetry quote and the entire poem because I think the poem speaks about the kind of love we should strive to have with our other-halves. Not the love of “[dull] sublunary lovers” which is only a physical connection that “[abscence] doth remove[s] / [those] things which elements it.” But love where, “two souls . . . are one” and when one lover dies the relationship does not end. Instead, the relationship is such as “gold to airy thinness beat,” not a “breach” but an “expansion” of love.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love

   (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit

Absence, because it doth remove

   Those things which elemented it.
But we by a love so much refined,

   That our selves know not what it is,

Inter-assured of the mind,

   Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,

   Though I must go, endure not yet

A breach, but an expansion,

   Like gold to airy thinness beat.

2. John Milton – Paradise Lost: Book 9  – The Fall of Mankind – Eve eating the Forbidden Fruit.

Why I love this quote? Adam and Eve live perfect lives in the Garden of Eden. But Eve is tempted by Satan in the guise of a snake who tells Eve she would be powerful and all knowing like God if she ate the forbidden fruit, even though God said that was the only thing that Adam and Eve cannot do. Many people will say, the Fall of mankind was Eve’s fault because she ate the fruit first and later, gave it to Adam. The thing was Eve was created from Adam’s rib, and he was supposed to love, protect her, and watch out for her. So, even when Eve takes that first bite, Adam has sinned to. And he does it again when he eats the fruit himself. This quote to me is savage and lustful: “Greedily, she ingorg’d without restraint / And knew not eating death.” Imagine this brilliant sexy vivacious woman who has been tricked by the devil, and done herself and her husband in. Immediately, she loses self-restraint and does not realize upon eating the fruit, she was ensuring that she would die, as would every member of the human race one day because we all relate back to Adam and Eve.

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour

Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:

Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat

Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,

That all was lost. Back to the Thicket slunk

The guiltie Serpent, and well might, for Eve

Intent now wholly on her taste, naught else

Regarded, such delight till then, as seemd,

In Fruit she never tasted, whether true

Or fansied so, through expectation high

Of knowledg, nor was God-head from her thought.

Greedily she ingorg’d without restraint,

And knew not eating Death: Satiate at length,

And hight’nd as with Wine, jocond and boon,

Thus to her self she pleasingly began.

3. Emily Dickinson – ” A Bird Came Down the Walk.” Lines 14-20.

Why I like this quote?  The poetry in these lines is extremely beautiful. The wording is lush and descriptive. It creates this wonderful image. I didn’t quote the entire poem though maybe I should have. But a bird comes down the walk and eats an angle worm raw. This shows the savagery and realness of nature. The bird looks around weary of predators with his beady bird eyes. He is acting as birds do. But there is beauty in the flight of the bird taking off “unroll[ing] his feathers” and “row[ing]” a “softer Home.” The last verse is magnificent and I still barely can wrap my mind around it. Flying like  “oars divid[ing] the Ocean / [too] silver for a seam.” And then a comparison of birds to butterflies who fly like they are swimming “plashless” or splashless in the sky. Just gorgeous wording you can feel and experience from Dickinson.

And he unrolled his feathers, 

And rowed him softer Home –

 

Than Oars divide the Ocean,

Too silver for a seam,

Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,

Leap, plashless as they swim.

4. Robert Browning – “Porphyries Lover.” Lines 28-43.

Why I like this quote? In this poem I like the horror of what Porphyria’s lover does. He thinks she has another lover and when he decides she doesn’t, he decides the only way to keep her his, is to strangle her with her own hair. Clearly, this guy is crazy but Browning writes so eloquently in his poem that the deed of murdering Porphyria is all the more terrible. In his messed up mine the lover thinks, “Porphyria worship[s]” him. To hold that moment in time because Porphyria is at last his, “[perfectly] pure and good,” the lover wraps Porphyria’s hair ” three times her little throat around / [and] strangle[s] her.” Crazy, but Browning does a fantastic job of conveying an obsessive lover.

       Happy and proud; at last I knew

Porphyria worshipped me; surprise

       Made my heart swell, and still it grew

       While I debated what to do.

That moment she was mine, mine, fair,

       Perfectly pure and good: I found

A thing to do, and all her hair

       In one long yellow string I wound

       Three times her little throat around,

And strangled her. No pain felt she;

       I am quite sure she felt no pain.

As a shut bud that holds a bee,

       I warily oped her lids: again

       Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.

And I untightened next the tress

5. Robert Frost – “Mending Wall.” Lines 27-24.

Why I like this quote? Well, I think this an important poem because it talks about how to be good neighbours. I think Donald Trump should read this poem before he builds a wall to keep out Mexico and Canada. The speaker in this story is picking up the rocks from his stone fence and placing them back on the wall. His neighbour does the same thing on the otherside of the fence. The speaker does not understand why each year, him and his neighbour do this. His neighbour believes ” ‘ [good] fences make good neighbours.'” But the speaker wonders ” ‘ [why] do [fences] make good neighbours?'” He would like to know what “he is walling in or walling out.” The speaker “doesn’t love a wall” and he thinks it is unnecessary. But he would like his neighbour to understand why they shouldn’t be putting up walls for himself, but the neighbour will not change his ways. “He will not go behind his father’s saying.” This poem makes me think we too need to be careful what we wall out or wall in, in our lives. We need to be with other people to share and build friendships. We can’t wall each other out because of tradition or things we’ve done. We need to accept people in, and open our doors to be good neighbours.

He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

If I could put a notion in his head:

“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it

Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offence.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,

But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather

He said it for himself. I see him there

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father’s saying,

And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

Please see The Poetry Foundation for the  complete works of poetry and other poems.

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Thanks to La Duchesse D’erat and Rosema for this weeks list prompt of important words.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved. 

A List of My 10 most Favourite, “Couldn’t Put Down” Books.


1.  

http://www.en.wikipedia.com
 
I first read this book in University in an English course. It’s about a Baptist family who leave Georgia in the US to be missionaries in the Belgian Congo. The book is narrated by the family’s mother Orleanna at the beginning of each of the books seven sections. After, each of her four daughters narrate their experiences. Especially, her daughter Leah. The family’s Dad is a crazy Baptist Preacher who will not leave the Congo despite his families extreme difficulties there. The family is forever changed by their experiences as missionaries. This book is life changing. So, interesting and exceptionally written as all of Barbara Kingsolver’s books are. It is even on Oprah’s booklist!

2.  

 
I read this book in University with Dr. McNamara. It is a book about a group of soldiers during the Vietnam War. Some make it home and some soldiers don’t. They carry with them their individual burdens and the burdens they take on in Vietnam. They carried their burdens home with them and if they survived, through out their lives. “They carried the malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated Bibles, each other. If they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb.” 

3. 

http://www.goodreads.com
 
I honestly hated studying Thomas Hardy’s poetry. He was a depressed guy with a horrible outlook on society, mankind, God, and himself. But he did write a great book when he wrote Tess of the D’Urbervilles. The book is about Tess’ fall, so to speak. She is a peasant girl who falls in love with Angel, the vicor’s sun. Angel holds Tess to a high ideal. He expects her to be the perfect loving wife he wants her to be. When he finds out Tess is not so perfect, that she was raped, he breaks the betrothal off. Tess must deal with the loss of love and make a new life for herself despite Angel’s blindness.

4.  

http://www.en.wikipedia.org
 
Not so much poetry as an epic, this epic chronicles John Milton’s interpretation of the creation of the world and the universe; the fall of Satan and his demons who oppose God and are cast into Hell;  the fall of man, God’s best creation, with help from Satan; and how the world works after man has fallen due to eating the fruit from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. The lines of poetry are beautiful and eloquent throughout the story. Even though Paradise Lost is long at times, and difficult to read if you don’t read poetry well, it is an amazing story. I learned a lot about my own religion, Christianity, through Paradise Lost, since much of what Milton wrote was based on the Bible and other religious Catholic books. But I’m not Catholic though. 

5.  

  

This book is brutal and awful at times. I think it opened my eyes to how terrible some people can truly be when I read it in second year university. The book compares Dorothy who is a fat, frumpy, and a proofreader with a lurid imagination; with Justine who is smart, slim, and “compulsively” sexual. Justine is a freelance journalist who interviews Dorothy about her past “involvement with a cheesy cult leader.” The book is eye opening, especially the sexual abuse and rape Dorothy received as a girl, and the awful destructive relationship Justine finds herself in with a man who could easily kill her. This is not a nice book but it will make you think twice about how screwed up certain people truly are.

6.  

 
I think Faking It by Jennifer Cruisie is my favourite chick literature book I have ever read. I can’t say why so much. It is only that the characters are so vivid and appealing. Matilda runs the Goodnight Gallery of Art, she inherited it from her father when he died. She has a secret in her past that she is willing to steal back to keep. She runs into Davy, on her first attempt to burgle a secret painting back. 

Davy is an ex con man who was ripped off three million dollars by his financial manager who turned the money over to Davy’s ex Clea. Davy will do anything to get his money back. Davy and Matilda join forces to stop “Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, an exasperated hitman, a mutant dachshund,  a juke box stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, and the realization they can’t turn their backs on the people they were meant to be,” or love. It’s a good one I promise. You will fall in love with the Goodnight family and Davy.

7. 

 
As you can see, this is a well worn and loved book. It’s a fantastic twentieth- century mystery. Rachel Verinder inherits a fabulous yellow diamond. Outside her house are Hindu priests who have waited centuries to reclaim their talisman looted from the ancient and Holy city of Somnauth. Someone steals Rachel’s diamond. No one is what they seem and nothing can be taken for granted in this story.”Witnesses, suspects, and detectives take up the story in turn.” The Moonstone is suspenseful and fascinating with a surprise ending no one would guess. This book made me look into more mystery books and the ending is unpredictable. I loved it.

8.  

 
This is an extremely old story written poetically in old English. I think I have read it too many times to count. But you can read the book retold in prose if you wish. Sir Gawain is challenged in King Author’s court, to chop of the Green Knight’s head. If he can’t do it, then the Green Knight will have the chance to chop off Sir Gawain’s head. Sir Gawain fails so he journeys to find a way he can save his own neck. He comes across a Lord and his Lady in their castle, where he breaks from his journey. He is encouraged three times by the Lady to sleep with her, even though she is married and through her, Gawain discovers a way to save his head from the Green Knight, or so he thinks.

9. 

  
Madeline L’engle is a young adult writer I grew up reading. I received this book as a present when I was ten-years-old. It’s about sixteen-year-old Vickie who gets to go with her friend Adam’s Aunt Serena on a trip to Antartica for a birthday present. Not to mention, Vickie’s friend/crush Adam will be working at one of the research stations in Antartica. Vickie discovers many of the people on the trip are not what they seem and her trip turns into an adventure both thrilling and dangerous. I reread this book so many times when I was young. I wanted to be like Vickie and travel. Also, I loved the poetry in the book. It’s superb.

10. 

 
Not a reading book. But a handy book to have as a writer. Once you’re out of English classes you can forget a whole lot of terms you learned to describe in a poem or book. Or, when writing an essay and you need to define what “alliterative” means, it’s all in here. This is probably on the internet now, but it was useful in my English degree and I still use it to this day. 

Thanks for reading. Also, many thanks to La Duchesse D’erat for this weeks list challenge.

Writing 201 – Paradise Lost – The Fall of Man 


So saying, her rash hand in evil hour

Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, she eat

Earth felt the wound; and Nature from her seat

Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,

That all was lost. Back to the Thicket slunk

The guiltie Serpent, and well might;for Eve

Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else

Regarded; such delight till then, as seemed

In fruit she never tasted, whether true

Or fancied so, through expectation high

Of knowledge; nor was Godhead from her thought

Greedily she ingorged without restraint

And knew not eating death: Satiate at length

And hight’nd as with wine, jocund and boon,

Thus to herself she pleasingly began,

When I first studied Paradise Lost by John Milton, I hated in first year university. But when I took a course on Renaissance literature in my fourth year, I loved it. It’s an amazing piece of work, an epic, but also with fantastic poetry. I love these lines where Eve plucked and ate the fruit off the forbidden tree in the garden of Edan. Adam later follows suite and eats the fruit as well. Did God create us knowing that man would fall? Yes, but he still created us, created us with free will. And even though Adam and Eve did the one thing God asked them not to do, he loved them enough to send a saviour one day.