Yes, he was lonely and he was jealous with his wife… and it was not that trivial mundane kind of jealousy afflicting so many other men. He took off his glasses and started to slowly and thoroughly clean them… nervous behaviour, or rather, behaviour meant to disguise his nervousness and buy him time to calm down. But she wasn’t there to ask him why he was nervous. No, he didn’t feel like going home, just like he didn’t feel like walking through her uncared-for vegetable garden, just like…
The door flung open, quick heavy footsteps accompanied by a young self-absorbed boy invading his reflective solitude.
A part of me breathed a sigh of relief when June came to an end. Normally the most uplifting, positive, “anything’s-possible” time of year for me didn’t feel quite that way this summer. Melancholy replaced positivity and a strange sort of anxiety reared its ugly head instead of usual excitement.
Much as she hated to admit it, there was a certain comfort and complicity in that room… two old friends catching up, picking up where they left off. Fifteen years apart couldn’t erase the familiarity of growing up together, of knowing what had shaped them and the marks they’d left on each other’s soul. Certain people can become a part of you, when they’re your support system and you’re theirs, when you’ve shared the best and the worst of moments. That was why severing all ties with him wouldn’t have been her first choice… That was also why she had to do it, when she understood it was the only way he could have a future with somebody else. But she never explained her decision, nor did she even announce it. Instead, she disappeared. Ghosting wasn’t a coined term back then, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t happening.
Hopes and dreams weren’t for the likes of him; every time he forgot what his mother taught him, he needed to be put in his place… and life never failed to do so. Nevertheless, anger started to bubble inside him. Much as he tried to tell himself otherwise, he still felt he didn’t deserve to be overlooked this time. Moreover, his mother’s words were gaining a grotesquely unfair tone and his brother’s haunting image infuriated him even more. Exhaustion got the best of him, but his sleep was fraught with frustration distorted memories shaped into nightmares. Nothing makes for a scarier nightmare than reality.
Frames by Ana Linden is now available on Amazon.
No matter what plans we might have had for this spring, they have certainly gone awry. Lockdown as means of protection against the quickly spreading pandemic was not only unexpected and unplanned, but also something with which we had no experience. So we tried to make the best of it… or at least cope with it and preserve our physical, as well as our mental health. Perhaps we got some much needed rest… perhaps we learnt some new skills or improved the ones we had… perhaps we caught up on whatever we needed to catch up on.
In some biologically unexplainable fashion, my stomach suddenly took residence in my throat, chocking me. I wanted to cry, I wanted to run away. Instead, I smiled and put on a show…
That sort of pressure can break a couple and words like divorce or separation were starting to explode in the middle of passive aggressive conflicts. They still loved each other, they still wanted to spend their old age in each other’s company. But in spite of how they were perceived by the children they taught, they weren’t that old yet; and sometimes routine and frustration are a lot easier to face alone rather than have them constantly mirrored by the person next to you, feeling guilty for their unhappiness and blaming them for yours.
Sometimes, there’s nothing like knowing that something’s coming to an end to make us want to participate. No sooner did Tracy (from Reflections of an Untidy Mind) announce that this is the penultimate week of her Corvid-2020 challenge, that I realized I still have some cute magpie photos to share, some thoughts to go with those images, and I started thinking how to manage to squeeze in a post I wasn’t planning on writing. Continue reading “Two More Weeks of Magpies”
One person’s smooth road, another person’s torment… Considering everything that’s been going on in the world recently, this may very well sum up the confluence of events, I believe. Knowing what awaits behind the corner is one thing, following the right path is another… and discerning that right path – any path –and transforming it into a traveled road is yet another. Continue reading “Road or no Road… Congratulations, Lens-Artists!”
She agrees. After all, just because – for some unknown reason – she feels inclined to overshare, it doesn’t mean he should do the same. They only met that morning and even if she has decided he would make for a pleasant fling, she has no long-term intentions. It would be wrong to lead him on… But that doesn’t mean she can’t allow herself to enjoy all sensations a man like him can provide. Intensity of any sort isn’t something she cares to avoid. If anything, she craves it and this is the time to offer herself everything she can. He has become a part of that “everything” as soon as she calmed down during their drive to the hotel. When he suggested drinks in the evening, she felt relieved not to have misread their mutual attraction and also animated by the fact that a man like him still wanted her. Handsome, successful and cultured, surely he can have any young woman he wants… and he chose her. That vain side of her personality was doing a happy dance the entire afternoon.
I was determined to end my magpie stalking habits once the spring was over. Easier said than done, especially when my neighbours, the Magpies, started showing up with their adorable young ones…
After reading Honey Ko, William Pennington’s debut novel and “a labor of love thirty-five years in the making” as the author notes, the first thing that comes to mind is, please don’t make us wait this long for your next book!
“Time passes, and grinds mountains into rubble and erases history into dimly recalled, tentative tales of memory, but it cannot erase the memory of the love a man and a woman feel but once, the love of a lifetime, the love of the ages. The love for which the heart burgeons into a breathless burst of yearning and passion and tenderness and fulfillment. The human love.”
Pennington, William C.. Honey Ko: A Novel
Love is indeed the keyword and main theme in Honey Ko, the complex, skilfully penned characters struggling to understand it, find it, preserve it and survive it. Heart-warming, intertwining love stories surpass the limitations of time, life and death, providing a fascinating, in-depth analysis of the happiness, sorrow and motivation behind the central life force this feeling represents.
It’s not an easy task to describe love, its torments or passion, but Mr. Pennington manages it beautifully and eloquently, in countless creative ways abounding in inspired imagery. Delicate moments and feelings are vastly explored, stereotypes are shattered, painful memories dealt with as the main character discovers himself, tirelessly questioning his feelings and motivation in order to learn what he needs from the woman he loves and how he needs to love her. From an all-consuming, fairy-tale kind of love to a more realistic and mature version, the characters’ journey makes for an enthralling, compelling read.
Artful raconteur, Will Pennington (author of Writers Envy blog) puts his own experience to good use while describing in great detail the exotic setting and the interactions between men and women from different cultures, with varied backgrounds and aspirations, and the way these aspects influence their romantic choices.
The multiple narrators create a well-rounded, dynamic, witty story, which certainly doesn’t lack suspense and twists. Nature itself, together with the exotic beauty of the Philippines and Hawaii, enhance the thrill of this novel, making it a deep, must-read, feel-good book, perfect for the summer ahead.
“When God created love, he created it from a perfect form. The love between Susanna and me was that form. All other love was a copy of the love we shared.”
A spring so many of us felt we’ve been robbed of is coming to an end… A most unusual spring… A spring of fear, loss and uncertainty… A spring of unexpected, sometimes unwanted realizations… Perhaps a spring of gratitude too – gratitude for what we do have… Perhaps also a spring of generosity and self-sacrifice, so others could be safe, alive… A spring of learning, even if the truths learnt may have been painful ones… A spring like no other. Continue reading “It’s Still Spring… Even at Home #20”
Nothing says spring like fresh blossoms and tiny adorable bird chicks. While trying to be safe, keep those around me safe, but also enjoy what’s left of this completely unusual spring, I spent time outdoors this weekend too, delighting in some almost unpopulated corners of nature and rural areas. Continue reading “It’s Still Spring… Even at Home #16”
Lilacs hold special meaning to me… a reminder of what I’ve overcome and how easily life can fall apart. So I make a point of having fresh lilacs in my home every spring. I love the way these flowers look, I love the way they smell, and I love what they stand for. Continue reading “It’s Still Spring… Even at Home #15”
I had been looking forward to that getaway for months – a trip I wasn’t sure would materialize – and as I was driving that early morning, it was finally beginning to feel real. It was real. That patch of beautiful wild flowers featured in my title story, Frames… well, it was also real. Everything else is fiction, but the flowers were real, an out of place wonder covering a mound of dirt in an otherwise prosaic field by the freeway.
Some images stay with you… their impact makes you want to find out the story behind them or at least create one such story. By the time I reached my destination, a rough outline of a nameless story had already taken shape in my mind. But I had recently finished Albatross and needed a bit of a writing break, so I knew it was a story for another time.
A shot would easily take that patch of flowers out of its natural context and create an entirely different reality for the unknowing observer in another context. It could suddenly be a dreamy field of wild flowers instead of some wild flowers on top of dirt by the freeway. Reality reframed or just one frame of a bigger, more complex reality? The answer is a personal subjective choice.
Coincidentally, I took some poppy shots the other day. What an unexpected find, I thought to myself, blooming poppies in the wind, with the beach, a calm sea and a blue sky on the background. Some of you also liked the one I already posted. All sorts of positive words come to mind when thinking of those shots, especially considering the recent lockdown months. But… but what you don’t see in any of those photos, what I carefully avoided to include in any of those frames is the large pile of rubbish only a few steps away from those beautiful flowers. Thinking back, perhaps I should have included it, but I was too taken by the angle excluding it.
My point is, we go about doing this in many, if not all, aspects of our lives. We like to think we see the full picture, we have the full truth, when in fact we only have instances, a few frames on which we choose or are forced to build our judgement, conclusions and decisions. Sometimes we get it right, even by mistake… other times we ignore the background, we find a way to exclude the ugliness from the picture in order not to have to deal with it.
The same happens to my characters. They’re neither picture-perfect, nor horrid, but they might appear to be either one or the other, depending on the moment one interacts with them. But once the angle becomes wider and the background less blurry, does their behaviour become understandable and acceptable? That, too, is a personal, subjective choice…
“Help yourself. You still smoke?”
Pointless question, stating the obvious, so it would fill the air between them… He tilted his head apologetically and smiled back, that embarrassed half a smile of his, when she’d catch him doing something she didn’t approve of and she’d point it out. He lit up and inhaled deeply, turning to ashes a good portion of the cigarette. He smoked when he was nervous, she remembered; and when he was upset, and when he was afraid… He smoked all the time, a lot, and the smell of smoke mixed with his aftershave used to cling to her hair. She’d come home from their dates and feel he was still there, in the room with her, when she brushed her hair before going to bed. Who was he now?
Frames by Ana Linden is now available on Amazon.
Another one from my “Peeping Tom” collection 🙂 . Don’t worry, no need to alert the police, my new-found spying habits are strictly focused on birds. 😉
Two months later… After two months of living by the sea without actually seeing the sea, it’s almost shocking how nothing’s chaged, nature is still the same. Then you look away from the water and notice people… protective masks, gloves… and fear mixed with joy in their eyes. No matter how much we try to pretend, so many things are not the same, are they? Continue reading “It’s Still Spring… Even at Home #9”
Don’t tell anyone about this, his father’s words ring in his ears as though he were sitting next to him. He then got out of the car and asked his youngest son to take his place behind the wheel. You’re the first one I’m teaching how to drive, remember this, but it has to be our secret for now. He was sixteen and his older brother, seventeen at the time, was soon going to be old enough to get his driver’s license… yet he and not his brother was the first one to be taught. His father’s words had a magical effect, suddenly erasing the morning’s tears and humiliation. For once he was ahead of his brother, for once he was the more important one… probably the only time in his life. He spent the rest of the day driving around the deserted industrial yard, improving his skills, absorbing every piece of information his father had to impart. You’ll be a great driver, son.
Frames by Ana Linden is now available on Amazon.
Another one from the early March archives… 🙂
The two young men look each other in the eye for a quick moment. Worlds colliding, brought together by a common surge of arrogance – it becomes one of them, it makes the other look even more uncouth. One smells like expensive aftershave, drives a German luxury car and looks impeccable in his designer clothes, next to his model of a girlfriend. The other one reeks of manure after cleaning the stables, wears dingy clothes and shoes, and his hair is a mess of unwashed uncombed curls. They are only a few years apart… they are worlds apart… with no common ground other than this temporary, illusory dimension. How could they ever really see each other? Why should they?
“Defines you?…” His intonation delivers a question, but the words form a statement inside him, because in the mist of his past he used to know exactly what she means. He used to have exactly that, he lost exactly what she lost.
“Defines you… but not in the sense that you become who that person wants you to be or that you’re devoid of character without them. I mean, they’re that one person to whom you can reveal all your weaknesses, the deepest darkness residing in the most hidden corners of your being, together with all the beauty you’re capable of, and they won’t get scared, they won’t run away. Instead, they will embrace it and love you for all you are, not in spite of it. They define you, because you don’t have to hide anything that defines you. They encourage you to be exactly who you are, they accept it and they don’t step back even when it’s anything but easy for them to be there.” Continue reading “Frames – Choices (Sample Fragment 1)”
Here I am, once more… I mentioned working on a new book, as some of you might recall, but I didn’t dwell on it. Well, in spite of various changes and challenges, I can now relax and enjoy, because I managed to stick with the schedule and it’s finally ready!
In case you noticed that countdown on my site and wondered about it, that’s what it’s about. Frames, my new book, is already available for pre-orders on Amazon and it will be published on May 15th. That’s also when the printed version will become available (click on the image).
Maudlin as it may sound, before I go on and tell you what the book is all about, I’d like to thank you for your support and encouraging words over the years, ever since I’ve started this blog. As many of you know from your own writing experience, this sort of warm, inspiring and supportive blogging community means a lot to an indie author.
I know it’s customary to do a cover reveal first, to create all sorts of buzz about the book, building suspense before the big publishing day. All’s well and good in theory, but promoting the book – relevant as that may be – is the part of self-publishing I loathe. So there I go again, revealing everything at once.
I’ve put together four stories this time, not exactly short ones, but no novellas either. Hopefully the common denominators will become clear as you read them, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. All I can say is, once they took shape in my mind, I couldn’t separate these stories.
What does one do when life comes to a hopeless standstill and the desired fresh start is not what it seems? Four enthralling, emotional short stories capture diverse characters who are stuck, desperately searching either for a new beginning or for an end to their misery. Opportunity presents itself under the unexpected guise of theft, murder and suicide intertwined with love, friendship and generosity. In need of purpose, as well as affection and passion, they are torn between their conflicting desires and moral values, often finding solace and support in unexpected, shocking situations and people. Can an assassin love? Is one’s death someone else’s fortune? Should outcasts dare to dream of a better future and should the past be put behind? These are merely a few of the questions tormenting them, pushing them to honestly acknowledge and assess their needs and their existence.
I’ll stop here, in an attempt to keep it short and sweet. I’ll explain my choice of title and I’ll share excerpts from each story over the following days. Hopefully, you’ll find them enjoyable.
It’s time I resorted to those photos taken at the beginning of March, right before lockdown. I was so sure I’d have the chance to shoot many more blossoms and spring flowers, but as we all know, life went in a different direction.
Little did I know when taking this shot that we’d be confined to our homes only days later. I didn’t get to see the trees in full bloom in my favourite park this spring, but I take solace in the fact that at least I had a chance to enjoy the more precocious ones. Of course, at the time I took the sight for granted and spent too much time distracted by the chill in the air and the wind which made it difficult to get decent shots. I’m sure there’s a lesson in there, somewhere….
Stay safe, everyone!
From freezing days to balmy ones, from winter coats to T-shirts, from grey barren trees and gardens to blossoming trees, blooming flowers, green leaves and fields, spring has come and is now w about to start fading into early summer… And most of us feel like we’ve missed it, been robbed and in the transition process from one “normal” to another, we’ve lost not only a season, but a lifestyle, a familiar world.
What’s the point in mincing words? I might as well admit it, the new normal has turned me into a voyeur… No bird outside my window is safe these days, their privacy – much like our freedom of movement – is a thing of the past. I’ve already given up on keeping up appearances, thus I no longer put away that telephoto lens; nor do I care what people from nearby buildings think if they see me… during a spying/photo session of their own. Continue reading “It’s Still Spring… Even at Home”
Almost a year ago, pleasantly surprised to find this empty street while I was away on a short trip, I thought to myself, “How wonderful…” It was so peaceful, so relaxing… I doubt I would feel the same, if I were to revisit the empty street today, under current circumstances. Careful what you wish for…
Apparently, we’re not the only ones tempted by chips… 🙂
I know, I’m a couple of weeks late for this party… but there’s a very simple reason for it – I wasn’t going to write this post. Yet here I am, taking it out of that mental bin of posts to never be written. I normally have this funny blog writing process. Something triggers an idea, then at some point of the day I have to drive from one place to another, and during that time my mind runs with that topic. By the time I get to my destination, I also decide whether I’m going to write about that “something” or I discard the idea, rarely going back to it. That’s not an option these days, so that percolating process is no longer in place, leaving me surprisingly uncertain about my writing decisions. Continue reading “All Sorts of Distance and a Different Kind of Bucket List”