Jared was the kind of man who made any woman who saw him stop and stare. He was classically handsome, with blond hair and blue eyes; he was told he resembled a thirty-five-year-old Brad Pitt.
Jared was blessed, but he didn’t realize how much. He owned his dream company, made tens of millions of dollars early in his career, had mansions all over the world, cars of various makes and models from classics to brand new, as well as, any toy he desired — skidoos, motorcycles, dirt bikes, (etc).
Yet, Jared was alone in life. He had no emotional relationship with any woman he dated. He felt many women and men were worthless beings, wasting their life focusing on helping others and building relationships which, ultimately, ended.
Jared believed he was “better” than other people due to his wealth, prestige, and attractiveness. He knew he needed a partner, a woman who had similar qualities to him. He also knew it wouldn’t be a love match for he had no love in his heart.
One night at a charity reception, a hideous girl named Ali approached Jared. She carried with her a basket of the most delicious looking apples.
People were drawn to their ruby shine and many people begged Ali to have one of her apples. Yet, they cringed at her repulsive faces and body, ravaged by burns and disease.
Ali’s form was bent and crippled and she dragged behind her a club foot. Her eyes were beady and when she opened her mouth, she revealed rotten teeth with many missing. Her basket of apples, in fact, was the only attractive quality about Ali with exception of her beautiful golden hair. It was thick, lustrous, and reached her waist.
Jared was appalled when Ali approached him but he noticed her mouthwatering basket of apples. As with everyone, he was drawn to them. But Jared didn’t understand why Ali carried the apples around, not willing to give them to anyone, despite offers of large sums of money and contacts for proceeders to alter her appearance.
“What do you want?” Jared asked Ali, gazing down on her in her repulsive ugliness.
Ali laughed. Her voice deceivingly youthful, “I can give you anything you desire with these apples. What you want the most will be yours with only one bite.”
“Yeah right,” said Jared. “Why would you give me a bite of one of your apples? And for free? You’d be stupid to do that.”
Ali giggled,”I didn’t say I’d give you a bite for free. Nothing’s free in this world as you well know.”
Jared peered again at the apples which called to him, a sirens song from forbidden fruit,”What’s your price hag?”
Ali smiled and her rotten teeth and foul breath made Jared take a step-back. He knew what the ugly woman would request, but for some reason, he let her ask for what she wanted.
“I want a kiss. A real one,” Ali said.”For a kiss I will give you one apple. Perhaps, then, you will find the woman who will truly be your other half.”
Jared gasped, afraid the horrid woman could read his mind. He nodded to her and said: “I accept your bargain.”
“My names Ali,” she said and drew closer to Jared. She stopped for a moment,”This will only work if you truly desire a partner to love, with a pure-heart.”
Jared brushed Ali’s words aside, “My intentions are honourable enough.” He tried not to gag as Ali’s mouth drew closer. But he stared at her gorgeous red apples and imagined an apple in his mouth; it was how he managed kissing Ali.
Her lips were dry as they rasped against his. Ali’s tongue dove in his mouth and when she groaned, he felt as if he might throw-up. She bit his lip and she laughed when he cringed.
When Ali stopped kissing Jared, she stepped back, her mouth in a mischievous smile. She drew a beautiful ruby apple from her basket and presented it to Jared with gnarled fingers.
Jared grabbed the apple, greedy for its taste. He gorged on it as if he was Eve and the apple, the forbidden fruit in Eden.
Suddenly, both Jared and Ali began to glow with white light. While Jared withered, developing scars and burns all over his skin, Ali became stunningly beautiful. She became a curvaceous and breath-taking woman in her prime. She attracted the crowd in the room to her presence.
Jared’s hair had fallen out and his expensive clothes hung on him as his muscle tone disappeared. In minutes, no one recognized Jared; he was as ugly and as repulsive as Ali had been. His only remaining attractive feature were his bright blue-eyes.
A beautiful golden haired goddess stood before Jared. She sighed, grasping his scarred hand.
“I told you Jared. You had to want what you desired with a pure-heart. You had to be ready to love the perfect woman for you; but you love no one but yourself. I was the perfect woman for you, but you loath me. You called me a hag.”
Jared laughed, “You were disgusting and now you made me disgusting too.”
Ali let go of Jared’s hand, offering the basket of apples to him:
“Only, give an apple to the most loathsome and disgusting person you can find on the earth. Remember appearances are not everything and under the most beautiful and sometimes successful people, hides a monster,” Ali warned.
“You’re a monster Jared, but you have been given a chance to redeem yourself. To learn to love and be human, until you find the most terrible woman and find the smallest glimmer of hope inside her. She will either become your true–love and save both you and her, or become as you have, taking your place. You will return to your former privileged life and body, but with a changed heart. You will know when you find the right person and will wander the earth until then.”
Ali dropped Jared’s hand and disappeared into the crowd. No one noticed him for once. They only noticed Ali who had become his philanthropic sister. She became owner of all his wealth, company, mansions, and life, when he disappeared.
Jared wandered the earth an evil gnarled old man for years and years. Some say, he still wanders today. No one knows if he’s changed.
Hey everyone. I’m thrilled to share with you an interview on a wonderful writer, teacher, and blogger this first week of July. His name is Christopher Leo Couch of Clcouch123. Please check-out his blog, he’s a fascinating, kind, and learned writer.
Please Tell Us About Yourself.
My name is Christopher Leo Couch. Christopher because my mother liked the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and Leo because it’s my father’s first name and his father’s and so on back. My last name is Couch because centuries ago, members of my clan made cushions for medievalfurniture, furniture otherwise made of only hard stone and brick.
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky; much of my family is from and in the Southern USA. My immediate family moved to Pittsburgh when I was young, then to Cincinnati. I moved back to Pennsylvania towork. I live in Mechanicsburg, a small town (borough) near Harrisburg (the state capital).
I grew up with four siblings, three brothers and my sister. I am the middle child. As such, I had to be an older child or a younger child, depending on the nature of the situation. The nature of the situation was rarely made clear to me. I never knew which child I was supposed to be and when. As a child, I had a busy imagination. I enjoyed stories and writing them. I made little worlds out of my train set and other toys such as models of spaceships or Lincoln Logs.
2. What Type of Profession Did You End Up Going Into?
I went into teaching, which became the substance of my work. I taught college while incollege. Later, I taught my way through Graduate School and teaching paid the bills. I discovered I had great concerns for the accomplishments and growth of my students. In my initial studies and since, I developed a learner-centered approach to teaching that has evolved by experience and further training.
As an educator, I’ve worked in schools and churches. I’ve worked with all ages of students. I find it appealing to teach a range of all ages. I enjoy working with babies, children, youth, and adults. I have degrees in Communications, and English, and I’ve studied religion. I’ve also, taught both public speaking and writing.
I am Christian though probably a lousy evangelist. I enjoy meeting those from other religious traditions and learning about their faith. I spend time with agnostics and atheists as well. I can articulate my faith well and I’m a devotee of the apologist C. S. Lewis; however, I believe if we’re all going to last in this world, we’re going to have torespect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.
” . . .I believe if we’re going to last in this world, we’re going to have to respect each other first. Rather than attempting to talk someone into my way of thinking and believing, I prefer to listen and respond. Then, I’m able to learn and relate to where others are in their spiritual beliefs.” – Christopher Leo Couch
3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
About a year ago, I had heart surgery. My recovery was slow and I couldn’t do much of anything. One activity I could do was write, so journaling became a daily practice. My spiritual director (once) had recommended I keep a blog. Why he suggested this, I’m not sure. I had already found WordPress, but I began to write on my blog more often after his suggestion. I enrolled in Blogging University (the WordPress offered courses). I also participated in a WordPress poetry writing class. I built a basic blog, giving myself enough options so that I could write blog posts, read the blog posts of others, and respond to other WordPress blogger’s comments.
I haven’t done much in a sophisticated fashion with my blog concerning graphics and other technical aspects, but I’ve been posting and corresponding daily for several months now and am learning as I go.
4.What Does Writing Poetry Mean to You? Why Do You Write?
Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write, I think. Poetry is the way I meet the world. Maybe someone else somewhere, said this more profoundly, but for me this is how I can explain it. I write poetry to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise—a way to play with words—which is fine. I play that way. Usually, there’s more at work behind the poetry, even in the playful parts. I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.
“Poetry is an impulse for me. I write poetry because I have to. It’s the reason I write . . .I write poetry to to explore, as I imagine many do with this form. Poetry can be an exercise -a way to play with words . . . I write to speak, to say something to the world, and to engage the world.” – Christopher Leo Couch.
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration to Write? Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like to Write?
Many things inspire me to write such as current events, a moment of beauty, and the concerns of myself and other people. I’m inspired to write when words come to mind or heart which I cannot let go of.
Currently, I most like to write in the early evening and revise in the afternoon the next day. I often enjoy writing first thing in the morning, when my mind is new and I encounter the world in an open way (or as open as the day and I are going to get).
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Poetry Projects? Any Hopeful Projects You Are Working On?
I’m working on composing a series of psalms. I’m not the first person to express psalms in a new way. I’m not sure how I began working on this project. A psalm, simply put, is asong to God. Perhaps, I was writing out a prayer and thought there might be somethinglyrical about it. At any rate, I continue working on writing a series if psalms.
It’s also been a dream of mine to study and train for an MFA in Creative Writing. I’ve applied to various programs, though have not worked out a method to afford taking courses in a Creative Writing Program, which is why it’s a dream. But I do have an active, waking dream to lead a creative writing class.
While recovering from my surgery (I must have had more time than I recall), I drafted averse novel for a young-adult audience. I have great fondness for the genre and have been delighted to teach it, study it, and simply read it. I’ve written works, often indramatic voice, for groups and special events; I’d be glad to continue writing works such as this.
I’d love to publish my work, of course. I have mentioned in my blog a dream of mine, to have a collection of my poems published in hardback form. I want my poetry to be a book as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal—or divine—aspects of earth.
“I want my poetry to be a book just as the kind of works I look for in bookstores and come upon as treasures abstracted from the mortal — or divine — aspects of earth.” – Christopher Leo Couch
7. Have You Published Written Works or Are You Planning to Publish Works of Writing in the Future?
I published numerous works while in graduate school and in my scholarly life. Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.
For the last church in which I worked, I wrote a devotional series and for a Lentenobservance. I wrote The Way of the Cross—a kind of liturgical writing which has been composed over centuries. If you go to the The Trinity Camp Hill Website, you’ll find my Way of the Cross and the entire experience rendered on line.
8. Can You Briefly Describe the Process You Went Through to Publish or Are Going Through to Have Your Writing Published?
I imagine if I seriously wanted to publish widely, I would need to have a literaryagent, if not an advanced (terminal) degree. What I often do, is send my writing to a groupwhich might be interested in printing it. Sometimes I’ve been commissioned to write certain pieces. Sometimes sending your writing to interested parties works and sometimes it doesn’t.
On a side note, I’ve heard there maybe a new planet discovered in our solar system. If so, it’s going to need a name. I posted a poem about my choice of Minerva (Roman god of wisdom), which many of you (thank you) like as well. I also sent my suggestion to NASA. Maybe, they will like my name choice as well?
“Most of my work, even poetry, has been published in journals. My favorite of these works is an article about ancient riddles and their use in The Hobbit.” – Christopher Leo Couch
9. What is Your Writing Process Like?
I’ve described something of my writing process above; I write. It’s not usually so hard, because I know I’ll write stuff that I won’t keep. But I’m still writing. The computer is especially (truly, really) helpful with my writing. I can draft, move things around, and create new saved versions and files. It’s so easy now with the a computer. Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).
I usually write in response to something—even if it’s only in wondering why orhow. Sometimes, I write something and then put it away. (Again, wonderful computer) I have many pieces of writing saved and stored on my computer (without proper back-up, I’m sure). At times, writing is difficult, because I am writing about somethingdifficult. The recent death of my close friend is hard to write about. Sometimes writing is more straightforward and other times, writing is like playing. The act of writing is a chore (physically speaking) but I’m fine with it’s physical demands.
10. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?
I read poetry, young-adult literature, and regular mysteries. Sometimes I read varied genres forfun and sometimes for work. For work, I read about pedagogy and religion. My favorite mystery works are by Aaron Elkins who sometimes writes with his wifeCharlotte Elkins. Charlotte also writes on her own. My sister and I share mystery titles and our reviews of the books we both read. But, young-adultliterature crosses pleasure and work, as does poetry.
“Sometimes, I wonder how I made it through my Master’s Degree using a typewriter. (A mechanical word-calculating device networked to nothing but the typist).” – Christopher Leo Couch
11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
Write! Don’t wait. Write. Share. Get reader response and write more!
When sharing your writing before revising (and after, since writing is an organic process and not artificially linear), choose those whose opinions about your writing, you generally respect. These opinions do not have to be from folks who are writers.
If you would like to know how to increase your vocabulary when writing — read. You can read anything. I suggest reading writing you like.Rosema from the blog: A Reading Writer writes about wonderful books to read along with meaningful poetry. Please check-out her blog in the link above.
12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share With Which Is Pertinent to Writing or Yourself?
I’d like to thank you, Amanda, for arranging this interview. I’d also like to thank everyone who reads my work. I’d like to thank those with whom I interact with online, because your work invites response.Thank you! Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies. Writing is a mystery—but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.
“Don’t let writing be a mystery which stultifies. Writing is a mystery –but the good kind. When it’s fair and correct, give credit where credit’s due. Identify sources and inspirations.” – Christopher Leo Couch
Can You Share With Us a Few Links From Your Blog With Some of Your Favorite or Most Loved Pieces?
The first poem is playful. Grandmama used two words in “Collecting Words,” which I especially like. I use these two-words here:
“Pie Outside Can’t Hide”
By Christopher Leo Couch
Crimp pie crust,
Not too hard, ‘cause,’
Dust to dust.
Enjoy the crimp,
With elf and imp.
When fall is crisp.
We bake our wares,
To cool on stairs.
Magic food alert!
My second poem is more soberly reflective:
By Christopher Leo Couch
Just after five,
I have not been asleep.
Pain shoots through,
My leg, a single line,
As if a wire was pushed,
Then something threw,
A supernatural switch,
And a low current of too-
Warm electric sting,
Courses through tired,
Having surrendered the,
Day’s labors into,
Aspiration’s night of,
Barely keeping guard,
Letting go of awake,
To turn into dream.
In hope to re-knit and,
Measures in the body,
And the mind.
It’s a cycle that’s supposed,
Why then is pain,
Ruining what I’ve made?
I want to rest then rise,
With normal consciousness,
Beneath the skin.
More of Christopher’s poetry can be found on his blog here.
Thank you so much Christopher for doing this interview for me. I enjoyed learning about you, your past, and your future aspirations. I wish the best for you in life, completing your MFA in Creative Writing, your psalms, and a hardcover book of poetry.
Thanks for reading this bi-weekly interview series. I have another fantastic interview lined up in the next couple of weeks. If you wished to be interviewed on writing and/or blogging, please reach me on my contact page on the top of my blog.
My Mom tells me I had a favourite stuffed toy I destroyed as a baby. But If I were to remember any stuffed toy I had it would be this white polar bear which held a smaller baby polar inside her arms. She was soft and fluffy and her claws were sharp plastic. I put her on my bed with my other stuffed animals and they all collected dust.
I mention this because people often think a significant gift or donation item to give children are stuffed toys. Unless the child is small, I don’t think this is the case. Kids don’t play much with stuffed animals. Some children have one teddy they like to sleep with but I think in many cases, that’s about it.
Kids who do adore stuffed animals, are often specific about the stuffed animal they want. Such as a child wanting ‘Toothless’ a dragon from How To Train Your Dragon 1, 2, or 3, because the movies are the child’s favourite movies to watch. Mostly, I think each child receives more stuffed animals than they need in a lifetime.
So instead of donating another stuffed animal to a cause, think of a toy your children or the children you know, enjoy playing with a great deal. Think of toys such as Lego, cars, Barbies, something technological, or something to do with a popular movie that isn’t a stuffed toy. Maybe a gift-card to get children’s books on their parent’s IPAD or actual paper books. Let’s ease up on the teddy bears and plush toys.
“What’s that noise?” Robbin said afraid. “Mom there’s something under my bed?”
Robbin’s Mom, Dorothy, flicked on the bedside lamp in eight-year-old Robbin’s room. She made a grand show of peering under the bed.
“Come see Robbin, there’s nothing under your bed. A monster couldn’t fit under there.”
Robbin got out of bed and peaked under his bed. “There’s only a few socks and toys here.”
“Yep. You can clean those up tomorrow,” Dorothy ordered.” Now it’s time for bed. No more reading. You have school.”
Robbin nodded and flicked off his lamp hesitantly. He snuggled under the covers which Dorothy had tucked him into. That’s when he heard the scrapping sound and loud inhuman breathing.
Robbin hid is whole body under his blankets, hoping the monster wouldn’t eat him.
The monster was in the closet this time and Robbin could see his red eyes through the crack in the closet door. The closet door began to creep open and Robbin screamed. The monster’s shadow was visible on the floor.
Dorothy came running. She was tired and wondered when Robbin would get over his fears of monsters. “What now my love?”
“The monster is in the closet now.” Robbin stuttered his face wan.
Dorothy opened the closet door, flinging it open to show Robbin nothing was there. “See no monsters,” Dorothy said.
“Mom,” Robbin screamed.
Behind Dorothy a monster was waiting to pounce. His red eyes glaring and giant teeth sharp and dripping with slime. His half-furred, half-reptilian body repulsed Robbin who began to cry and beg, “Don’t eat my Mom.”
Dorothy turned around to look in the closet. “There’s nothing here . . . Ah!” The monster swallowed Robbin’s Mom whole.
Robbin flicked on the lamp light quickly and the monster disappeared. “Mommy . . .” Robbin asked.
But it was too late. Dorothy should’ve known better. The best way to get rid of monsters is to first turn on the light.
“Did you pick up your toys as I asked you to?” Lyndsey said to her son Charlie. Charlie looked down at his feet and began to fidget.
“Charlie?” Lyndsey asked again lowering her voice.
Charlie examined his Mom’s serious face for signs she might let him off the hook.
“I wasn’t done playing yet.”
“Bedtime is 8:30 pm which is the reason I asked you to put your toys away.” Lyndsey said sternly.
“I don’t want to go to bed yet. And if I leave my toys out, I can play with them tomorrow and not have to get them out again.” Charlie whined.
“The problem is Charlie, your Dad and I trip over your toys and hurt ourselves when we are in the living room at night. You have to pick them up and get ready for bed or there will be consequences. They’re your toys, you’re the only one who plays with them, so it’s your job to put them away each day.”
Charlie stamped his foot. “I won’t do it .”
Lyndsey looked at Charlie again frustrated. “You can pick up your toys now or I will put them in a big black garbage bag. You’ll have to do one chore for each toy you want to get back from the garbage bag.”
Charlie gasped, “Ok, I’ll pick them up.” Charlie began picking up his toys slowly.
After fifteen minutes Lyndsey yelled, “Enough Charlie!” She took the remaining toys from the living room where Charlie played and put them in a big black garbage bag. The garbage bag was half-full.
Charlie was shocked.”But I was picking them up . . . ”
“Not fast enough. Go to bed Charlie. I’ll be there to read to you from Harry Potter. Make sure you brush your teeth and put on your PJs.”
Charlie trudged up the stairs to the bathroom, giving his Mom a dirty look, “What about my toys?”
“We’ll talk about it tomorrow. I’ll make a list of chores you can do to earn back your toys.” Lyndsey said.
Jennifer was at the San Diego zoo with her nephew Hollister. Hollister was oohing and aahing at the animals he saw. “Look those are peacocks honey, aren’t they pretty?” Jennifer asks Hollister. He nods and says, “oooo nice.”
“That’s the boy peacock” Jennifer tells him pointing, “they always have bright blue and green feathers so the girl peacocks will notice them. The girl peacocks have white feathers. ” Hollister smiles.
” I think the boys are just showin’ off,” he says. “Like Daddy when he brings the red car with Monica. I like Monica she is so pretty, but not as pretty as Mommy,” Hollister spouts.
“When does Daddy bring Monica over?” Jennifer asks Hollister. He giggles.
“She is so funny. Monica comes over in the day when Daddy comes and gets me from playschool. I watch cartoons and play with my toys. Daddy says not to bother Monica. But I went to see them once…” Jennifer gasps but Hollister continues,”Daddy got mad and he was naked. Monica was naked too. Daddy said they were having grown-up time.”
Jennifer was so furious at her brother-in-law. Hollister pats Jennifer’s hand as if he can see how anxious she is. ” It’s okay Auntie, Daddy was just being a peacock .”
Jennifer sighs. “We’re going to have to tell Mommy this story Hollister.”
The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?
I’ll admit it! I love Christmas. It is better than your Birthday and better than any other holiday we experience throughout the year. There is something to be said about the uniting of family and friends to share tasty treats or a large delicious meal and coming together and just talking and being one large family. By family I mean, family can be anyone. Family are your closest friends, strangers who have no where else to go for the holiday, your immediate family, and your extended family — relatives you never ever even met before.
So no I can’t get enough of Christmas but the way I look at Christmas has changed. The most memorable Christmas to me as a child was when I woke up earlier then everyone in the house to go see the presents. I wanted a Barbie house so so much! And I woke up and sitting in the living room was this huge box with my name on it. I went back to bed for it was only 5;30 am but I couldn’t sleep. And then around 8 am when we finally opened presents I ripped off the paper of that large box and behold a Barbie house! A beach Barbie house with bedrooms and a dock that we found a blue container that looked just like a pool that Barbie and Ken could jump in. I loved that Barbie house even though through years I grew out of Barbie. But that was the issue, toys and opening presents, and candy use to be important at Christmas.
Now people, conversation, laughter, and memories are the most important things I value from Christmas. Not mention that a little baby named Jesus was born on Christmas to save the world from sin. I’m sad that my boyfriend is working Christmas because this is a message I would like to share with him every chance I get. He is Muslim and has different beliefs then I do. To him, Jesus is a Prophet, and God is not a triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So despite loving him I wish he would understand that Christ was born and later died for him too and that he needs saving as much as anyone. But I will get to see him on New Years so I’m just happy about that.