river behind me

Posted in General Musings on October 30th, 2012 by D'jaevle

Last night, I slept in my study with the window open.

Ella, my cat, curled in my lap as I listened to the rain from my leather chair. I moved in and out of sleep, and each time I woke to shift positions, two things happened.

The first is that Ella would get up, circle, and find a new nook in my lap to sleep in.

The second is that I would try to find the rain.

The rain was there – of course, it was a hurricane after all – but I found myself reaching through my sleep-addled brain to listen to it. As if hearing the rain as it hit the trees and creek outside were a touchstone I needed.

(that I put up with a cat in my lap all night tells me that I am somewhat attached to the beast, as I usually avoid anything that will affect my sleep; that I found myself searching for the rain tells me that I spent too much time as a child playing in the rain and may be a re-incarnated rain god)


Posted in General Musings on October 1st, 2012 by D'jaevle

In one version of Greek mythology, nymphs spend each day in an orgy of wine and wickedness only to fall asleep and rise anew the next morning with no memory of the day before.

Youth is like that.

We are immortal in our youth, invincible. We fall often, mistaking impermanence for beauty, experience for wisdom.

And we are not wrong in that. At least, not yet.

Because this is how youth is meant to be spent – it is not a thing to hoard: the longer we try to hold on to it the faster it slips through our fingers. Time is the one commodity we cannot overspend on. It can’t be saved. It can only be lived as thoroughly as possible.

And it is better spent without extensive worry or weight. Consequence will follow – it must always follow – but we don’t have to chase it.

Because age and wisdom and second-guessing will come to dodge our heels; we will begin to use the word naivete as a sort of taunt, or a curse, but it will be born of jealousy.

Because we once lived more fully.

Before we knew better.

no vacancy

Posted in General Musings on June 22nd, 2012 by D'jaevle

I’ve come to realize something very important.

I have only so much room in my head.

Lately I’ve been filling my time – and my brain – with TED talks, Kahn academy lectures, web-found life tips, inspirational quotes, harmonica lessons….

You get the idea.

It’s like I’m trying to level up.

But it doesn’t work that way. I won’t finish watching a TED talk on the importance of classical music and suddenly become enlightened. There’s no SHAZAM!-like quote that will transform me into ‘The Renaissance Man’.

Nirvana is not a youtube video away.

I envision my head as a bookshelf. Some ideas and skills fit into nicely. Scientific method? Simple, elegant, easy to learn and implement – it’s like a slender leather-bound book that fits neatly on one end of the bookshelf. Save ten percent of my income for retirement? Not a problem.

But how about the principle of ‘Always be good to others.’?

Not so easy to fit – some things you do are good for some people, but not good for others; how do you reconcile that? What happens when being good goes against your own self-interest? It’s a big idea. It’s like placing a large, weird, abstract sculpture on the shelf. It’s not easy to follow every day, in every act I do. But it’s an idea worth striving for.

And! At least I can get my mind around that idea. There are some that I just can’t grasp in a meaningful way. Stuffing those ideas into my head is like trying to keep a sack of playful kittens in one place. There’s no way. And that’s fine – maybe I’m not ready for that idea. Or maybe it just isn’t the right idea for me.

But back to the point.

There’s only so much room in my head. And sometimes I try and cram in a bit too much.

I’m not saying I plan to stop watching TED talks – really, they kinda rock. But I think I’m going to slow down on collecting character-building facts, and focus on better understanding the pieces I’ve already got in place.


Posted in General Musings on December 24th, 2011 by D'jaevle

I have a tangled, mangled, mouthful of words. They’re sharp enough to cut into my gums, long enough to gouge my cheeks. And the longer I hold them in, the harder they are to swallow.

every two hours

Posted in General Musings on June 28th, 2011 by D'jaevle

Every two hours.

12am. 2am. 4am. 6am.

I woke.

I read that the REM cycle lasts just over 90 minutes.

Perhaps mine take a bit longer.

I laid in bed and thought of the various skills and hobbies I’ve attempted to master over the years.

When I was about 10 or 11, I saw a martial arts movie on TV and thought: “I can do that.”

And then proceeded to acquire a long stick to twirl around in a dangerous and potentially awe-inspiring fashion.

At 17, after seeing Labyrinth, I became convinced that contact juggling was about the coolest thing ever. I found a how-to book on-line and began practicing with a clear acrylic ball.

I got…well, not good.

Not even decent.

But I did get comfortable.

Around 24, I tried woodcutting for about ten minutes. I bought about $40 dollars of equipment, and then say out on my patio with a chain mail glove on my left hand and began whittling.

I thought the act would free up my mind to think. Instead, I spent most of my time cursing my lack of fine dexterity. I put the woodcutting equipment in my attic.

Last year I bought a harmonica. My grandfather used to play ‘Oh Clementine’ with vibrato and I wanted to carry on this fine tradition.

So far I’ve managed to get down “Scarborough Fair”, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, and “Popeye”.

Some of my interests have lasted a bit longer. I’m on my second motorcycle. I’m going hang gliding for a second time next week. I learned how to bake a mean cinnamon walnut bread from scratch.

And this writing thing seems to have stuck with me.

Two hours is not nearly long enough.

the Wolf who Swallowed the Moon

Posted in General Musings on June 7th, 2011 by D'jaevle

I mentioned that I’ve been doing a bit of writing. One of the items I’ve been working on is for a friend who is active in local theater. She wants to direct a one-act play and asked if I could come up with something.

I give you my one-act play; it is still in a rather rough form and I plan to continue to revise it in the weeks ahead. It’s also rather short. A ten minute play at best.


Cast of Characters

SEBASTIAN HAWTHORNE, an early thirty-something gentleman rake. He is well-dressed but ever so slightly rumpled.

CHARLOTTE LORRAINE, an intelligent, yet largely untested, woman of means. She is in an evening gown, or a dress.

The play takes place in a secluded parlor at a manor hosting an evening’s gala.

At Rise:
(A parlor in a large manor house; there is a balcony off to the left with a view of the night sky. CHARLOTTE is sitting on a left end of a sofa in the middle of the room, pouring herself tea from a teacart. SEBASTIAN enters from the right; sounds of a party can be heard through the open door. He takes a couple of steps towards the balcony before noticing Charlotte.)

Pardon me, I was told there was an excellent view of the night sky from this room.

The pardon is yours, as is the view. But if you came here for tea as well, you are out of luck. There was but a single cup left.

     (Sebastian nods and walks to the balcony, looking up into the sky for several moments.)
Ah. As I suspected.
     (Sebastian turns from the balcony and steps back into the room.)
Have you seen moon? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen her so full of herself. What a minx she is, flaunting herself up there.

Is she flaunting herself? I think she just holds herself in high esteem.

Esteem? So she directs the tides and turns men into stags. She is far too aloof for my comfort. But I know her secret.

The moon has a secret?

Of course. And I’ll share it with you in exchange for your name.

You can keep the secret. I am quite sure the moon would prefer it that way. I am Charlotte Lorraine.

Sebastian Hawthorne.
     (Sebastian walks past the sofa, to the right, as if intending to return to the party. He pauses at the end of the sofa.)
Tell me, if you were brought the moon, what would you do with her?

I’d return her to the sky. That’s where she belongs.

Would not the act earn a reward? A smile, perhaps?

     (Charlotte sets down her tea, looking at Sebastian.)
You are bold, sir.

Not as bold as the moon herself.
     (Sebastian smiles.)
And if I am bold, it is only because I am under a gypsy curse. While the moon is still full, I must steal the heart of a woman.

And what happens if you don’t succeed?

I don’t know. The gypsy had a tendency to mumble. And she spoke a foreign a tongue. I am lucky to have figured out as much as I did. Perhaps there was nothing else. Or perhaps –
     (Sebastian holds up a finger)
– she just wants me to enjoy life to the fullest. It is a burden, this curse, but one I bear with solemnity.

Now you are bold and ridiculous. Weren’t you properly raised? You can’t go around trying to steal affection from a lady you’ve just met.

We were barely met when I found you sipping tea. Now we are thoroughly met.

Why do I get the feeling you use verbal sophistry to obscure insecurities?

You are a limber blade, to cut so.

I don’t think I’ve cut nearly deep enough.

     (Sebastian places a hand over his heart as if wounded)
I think you’ve drawn blood.

     (Charlotte looks Sebastian over slowly)
You bleed? I do not see it.

You aren’t looking close enough. I bleed just like any other man, just not as obviously.
     (Sebastian moves away from the door, along the back of the sofa, to the other end, turning to face Charlotte)
You know, I lied about why I came to this room. It wasn’t just to see the sky. I ran into the most intriguing fellow at the party. He was looking for his fiancé.

Oh? Was he having trouble finding her?

So it seems. I thought I would help. Only, now that I have found her, I have to wonder.


He was rather stiff.


As a board. And not particularly…


Yes. And so I find myself wondering.

Why would someone so obviously clever be marrying someone who appears rather dull?


He is rather nice.

And nice is enough?

Is witty enough?

     (Sebastian chuckles.)
Sometimes enough…is not enough. But you really are a clever girl, and I would not think you are the kind to settle.

I am of a kind? Is that like a gaggle?

Geese gaggle, puppies litter, sheep flock, sparrows host, turtles turn, ravens murder, and girls are kind, but less so after an age.

You say I am too clever to settle.


And I say you are too unwound to know what a girl truly wants. You dally. You make a dance of it. You promise the moon, but it is a moon made of paper.

Better a paper moon then an untouched life. I say do not be sane or give up your thirst. Do not loosen your grip on the harmony of need and grace or let slip your memory of the low cry when caught between curiosity and desperation. Do not forget the language of lips to wrist, and teeth to pulse or the spaces between. Do not ignore the lullaby that leaves you bereft or the cradle used to kindle your fire. Do not hide from the torrent, the river, the rain or the unwise but sumptuous words that fill you.

     (silent for several seconds)
You are being dramatic, sir.

At the least. Tell me. Why him?

Why not? He is a good man from a good family. He will treat me kindly and see that I am well taken care of. And if his wit is not as sharp as some, he will never scold me for the use of mine.

But he will never praise you for it either. He will not appreciate the subtle artistry of a well turned phrase, or the invisible knife you wield to cut at the pretension of others. And without someone to hone yourself against, you will become bored, and then dull, and then you will be just like everyone else.

Why am I even talking to you? I feel as though I’m a child playing at a pretend tea-party. Only instead of dolls I have a precariously polite wolf as my guest. I’d rather be the shepherdess. I’ll tend my flock of doubt and fear, losing a lamb or sheep here and there to the wolf or my own neglect.

Let me tell you how to handle a wolf who has found his way to your tea-party. Stay at the edge of the garden. Let him sleep by your porcelain cups. He will know you are there – he has your scent and the length of your words to tell him where you are. But you will be too far away to be more tempting then his dreams. And so he will sleep and dream of chasing clever rabbits under a sky large enough to shelter his hunger.

But this isn’t about dreams, is it?

No. This is about the wolf, the fear that keeps you from coming any closer
and the curiosity that ensures you do.

Is that any way to speak to a woman engaged?
     (Charlotte stands and begins walking along the front of the sofa to the right.)

If you leave now.

     (Charlotte pauses at the end of the sofa.)

You will be leaving something behind.

You are being deliberately disingenuous.

Am I? I’ve always considered myself rather opaque.

As a dark window.

And selfish.


Yes. Quite selfish. And for much of my life, I have worn my selfishness as a badge of honor. ‘I am selfish’, I would tell people, ‘But I am upfront about it.’ Admitting it, you see, makes it acceptable.

Do you really think so?

Of course not. But then, I’m not really selfish. What I am is self-centered. I view the world only in terms of the role I have in it.

     (Charlotte sits down on the end of the sofa.)
And what role are you playing tonight, Mr. Hawthorne?

Haven’t you guessed by now? I am the wolf at your tea party. And you are the wayward girl.

Wayward? I am indeed. Catch me by my wrist and I’ll pet your ruffled coat of dark fur. But if you bite me, I’m going to bite you back. And if you hurt me, I’m going to cry. And won’t you feel awful for hurting such small and sweet a thing as me?

I have something to confess. Earlier, when I said I was lying about why I came to this room.


I was lying then as well. I came to capture the moon.
     (Sebastian reaches into his vest and draws out a small wooden box. He places it on the tea cart next in front of Charlotte).
And I did.

Am I to believe you have placed the moon in that box?

You are to believe whatever you wish. I know what I believe. I believe you are like a stained glass window. All the lines of your life have been etched across your soul with a knife so sharp you only felt it in the passing. You do not yet know what you are capable of.

Is that all? Next, you will read my fortune and tell me I am not fated for life on the arm of a man of means and respect.

I cannot tell you that you should not marry a good man.

Then what is it you can tell me? It seems you say an awful lot of words without saying anything at all.

I can tell you the moon is a harsh mistress, but that her mystery is one worth possessing. She is ill-content to stay in one shape, dancing from sliver to coin.

Are you saying I should be more like the moon?

I am saying you should be a mystery worth possessing. Good night, Ms. Lorraine.
     (Sebastian smiles, inclines his head while tipping an invisible hat – and then leaves to the right).

(Charlotte picks up her tea cup, sipping at it. She is restless. She smooths out her dress, takes another sip from the tea cup, and then stands up. She takes several steps past the edge of the sofa, heading to the exit to the right and then pauses. She turns and walks back to the teacart, lifting the small box Sebastian left behind. She taps the top of the box thoughtfully, and then turns to leave).


Posted in General Musings on May 11th, 2011 by D'jaevle

Stubborn words, settled in scene, unsettled by visions.

I’ve become accustomed to menthol cloves; there is a small green triangle on each to mark them as a faux-peppermint confection (masterminded by those geniuses in Indonesia). A lot has changed in the five years I’ve been writing at this desk, in this study.

My cloves, and my cognac, are not among them.

There is a pirate ship atop the armoire that wasn’t there six months ago. A wolf mask atop the small LCD television (that hasn’t been turned on in years). The Petty girls along the walls of the room have migrated based on mood and whim.

I have an additional knife. Two more floggers. A nautical hourglass and a harmonica.

Words, too; I have more of those – a viable babel tower of them.

There are ghosts here; friendly, quiet ghosts. They watch me type at my desk or curl up in the large leather chair to listen to another of my stories.

They’re waiting to see what I write next.

‘ello, ‘ello

Posted in General Musings on May 8th, 2011 by D'jaevle

Oh, I’m still here. My posting has slowed (yes, even slower then normal, which was about 2-3 times a month).

But I’m still writing. I’m just not putting the writing here at the moment (some of it, I have no doubt, will eventually).

There was also that vacation to the Bahamas. And the class I started teaching.

But still here.


almost yours

Posted in Crimson Writ, General Musings on April 6th, 2011 by D'jaevle

I am no longer shadow cast, or sinner spent.

I am not the sound of a motorcycle going past, or the many-fingered lightning strike.

Nor the promise in heavy rain, or the dark prince in your story.

I am not the wolf at your heels.

I am only the words you left behind.


Posted in General Musings on January 11th, 2011 by D'jaevle

There is a way of writing that doesn’t stop at the end of a page. The words continue, letter by letter, across the margins and past the edge of the paper. You can’t see it, but they don’t stop there. Dark limbs, they stretch outward, streaks of black across an amber sky.

Winter-boned, too dusky to be stark, they are bloody insistent. They are symptom and ailment both: red-eyed, bleeding fingers, unheard voices and low growls.

But I’m not afraid of them; I have a Cronusian appetite and my children will make a fine meal.

For they are ash, incense incarnate, the Wednesday of the soul, and they have no voice but that of my less-then-meek typing.