Temporary Good-bye

Last December, I started posting here every day to share my illustrations and poems, highlighting some from the book that I self-published, The Dancing Fish. At first, I thought I’d stop posting after a couple months. Then I figured why not keep going, and wondered if I could manage 365 straight days.

Part of my answer was that I could’ve used my old work — which led to me rediscovering some of what I created eight to ten years ago and had forgotten. Also, I created a bunch of new material to accompany the old work. Poems, stories, and illustrations that popped in my head.

I’m proud to have reached the 365 milestone, which was on December 10. Then I felt an urge to keep going a little longer.

Along the way, I’ve met many other creatives on WordPress. I’ve enjoyed reading your poems and stories, seeing your photos and illustrations. I’ve enjoyed making friends with you in our journeys of creativity.

Thank you for reading my posts and sharing your thoughts on them. I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to do that. It’s been wonderful to read about the reactions and feedback.

Writing and drawing help me a great deal. With processing emotions. With handling depression and anxiety. To create form of the images/scenes in my head, then seeing the differences of the form compared with what was in my head. Surprises come from those differences. And the joy of making something that wasn’t in my world before.

To me, crafting something is magical.

It opens the door to frustration and disappointment when the something didn’t turn out as we had hoped. And it opens the door to discovery and surprising ourselves.

I’m going to take a break from blogging for a bit. I’m devoting more of my energy to writing a novel. I finished the first draft in summer 2020, and the story needs a lot of work. It’s science fiction-ish. I’d rather not mention details right now. Those will come later, after more of the story takes form.

This is a temporary good-bye. I’ll drop in now and then. I’ll let you know about my progress, and I’ll read your latest material.

I wish you well as we say good-bye to 2021 and say hello to 2022. I wish you much joy in experiencing where your creativity goes.

Xob of Chocolates

Drawing of a box of chocolates, with some of the spots empty where chocolates used to rest.

Who put the chocolates in the wrong places?
The caramel-filled piece is supposed to go
in the box’s top right corner,
but it turned out to be hazelnut
when I ate it.

Someone moved all the pieces!
They’re mixed up from the original package!
This is no longer a box of chocolates,
it’s a xob of chocolates.

And someone threw away the paper guide
that tells which chocolate is which,
so I could figure out some of the chocolates
by their shapes.

What if I’m in the mood for a coconut cream,
and I pick up a strawberry cream?
When I bite into it, my plans would be ruined,
my dreams smashed!

This is chaos!
This won’t do!
The chocolates should be a certain way!
We have to straighten this out!
We must have order instead of mayhem!

Without the guide, how could I arrange
the pieces in the correct positions?
It’s an impossible situation!
All hope is lost!

Well, they are tasty chocolates.
I guess this could be an adventure,
not knowing which flavor I pick up next.
Okay, I’ll give it a try.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. This poem is in my book, The Dancing Fish. And this poem is included in my narration of four poems from that book — click here for the YouTube video.

Then Tomorrow

Turning the key felt as a lock slamming in a vault. But, as Adam stared through the large window, nothing was left to steal. Beyond the for sale sign: emptiness. Something never imagined when Adam took over the store from Dad, who inherited it from Gramps. Then worried over when cavernous stores outside of downtown changed the landscape. Fewer shopping baskets plopped next to his cash register. Then the Internet, and people filled virtual shopping carts.

Adam shook his head for the millionth time and asked, “What now?”

“Dinner,” Carla said, giving him a small smile. “Then sleep. Then tomorrow.”

Gift for an Old Dog

The old dog heaves a hefty sigh
and lays his head down to sleep.
Before dreams of running take him,
he looks at the girl sitting on the sofa,
and he is grateful for her.
The taller man and woman do not
have the excitement they used to for him,
and now look at him as more of a chore.
But the girl still looks at him as a gift,
and this is a gift back to him.

6 Free Ebooks

Covers of 6 books

Today and tomorrow, you can get six of my ebooks for free! I hope you enjoy reading the stories and poems. Happy holidays!

About the books (click on the titles to jump to their Amazon pages to get the ebooks)…

Nobody Will Like This Book

Plainly put, this book is worried that nobody will like it. This book has seen other books with beautiful pictures and colors on their covers. And some other books have pictures and colors on their inside pages. In contrast, this book has only grays on it. The book has drawings on the inside pages. Some of those drawings are a bit silly, so they can be fun. What’s also fun (and very nice) is when a friendly book comes by and tells this book that being different isn’t bad. Instead, it makes books special.

The Dancing Fish

Buds on a tree grow into popcorn… a cheese danish escapes… Pomegranate Janet visits a city… a pirate captain changes his life… a ghost tries to scare Maya…

These happenings happen in this collection of playful poems and drawings. The poems will appeal to kids and adults with youthful sides that come out for recess. Are you open to learning about new words that rhyme with orange, and which lands don’t belong to the king of nearly everything, and what items are collected by quirky Miss Q? If so, then start a journey on page 1, with the poem fittingly titled “Beginning.” Or begin on any page with any poem. As it goes without saying (or writing): starting on page 1 is not mandatory.

Jumble: Stories and Drawings

In this quirky collection, you’ll find 18 short stories and 68 drawings, which are independent of the stories, although a few drawings echo something in the stories, a fine example being an elephant.

Examples of the stories: a man finding joy in a pancake house, a girl interrogated because she picked up the king’s rolling crown, elderly Claude Monet visiting his long-time friend Renoir, a science fiction writer donning a cap of electrodes hooked up to a computer so his dreams could be transcribed, and a group of private detectives hired to research the possibility of reincarnation.

The drawings lean toward the cartoonish and simply illustrated, which could be criticized if you’re of the mindset that drawings need to be highly detailed for them to even begin to be considered of decent quality. Actually, one “drawing” is a kind of flowchart and another is a kind of list, so their categorization as drawings is debatable.

The Minotaur at the Door

Is that an actual minotaur knocking at the front door, or is it somebody pranking Pablo, Miles, and Harry? The three men renting rooms in the house have their doubts about the reality of the creature, but only Pablo seeks to learn more. He wants to meet the minotaur. And find out why he is visiting their neighborhood. Pablo’s journey alternates chapters with the events of Daedalus and his son Icarus, centuries before Pablo. These chapters breathe life and detail into the myth of Asterion, the first minotaur, and Daedalus and Icarus’s imprisonment in the labyrinth. How father and son deal with being stuck in the maze and how they craft a plan to escape.

Other Lives of the Boothbys

Bradley Boothby has no idea why he feels déjà vu when walking by the office building for Rayburn-Turley Publishing. Is he included in one of the publishing company’s books? If so, why? Did an author spy on Bradley to steal his life story, which isn’t all that dramatic? The thoughts are far-fetched, so he dismisses them. But the strange sensation persists, and Bradley finally acts, needing to find if the déjà vu has a foundation. His search touches off consequences for an editor and writer, as they have an impact on each other’s lives.

The Red Tree

While rain falls for weeks, the Engler family invites friends over for an evening of dealing with cabin fever together. And when the spring sun arrives, the Englers celebrate by walking in a wooded park, where they encounter a red tree away from the trail. Guesses abound as to why the tree is red when none of the other trees are.

Life returns to normal for most of the Englers. The father, Calvin, decides the red tree was a sign for him to make changes in his life and property. Changes the family and neighbors don’t quite understand. But some family members can be eccentric, and others learn to roll with it.

A short story about family, experiencing the mysterious, and letting your imagination loose.

Waiting for Gift Man (Again)

This flash-fiction story was published last year on Christmas Eve. Since there are new followers to my blog (and thank you!!), I’m posting the short story again. I hope you enjoy…

Waiting for Gift Man
by Dave Williams

As we waited for the Gift Man to rappel down the chimney (no fire in the place, thank you very much), we regaled each other with tales of adventure.

“That time I went hang gliding down in Rio was a blast,” Mitch said. “You get a good running start and just launch yourself off the cliff, and you’re like, ‘this doesn’t feel right at all, I’m not supposed to jump off a cliff,’ but you tell yourself to shut up, that you’re strapped to this glider and it’s gonna be alright, ’cause you’ve just seen a bunch of people do it, and then you’re doing it, you realize you’re hanging there in the air, soaring. And you see the beautiful city below you and the beautiful beach and the beautiful ocean. And you’re so caught up in all of it that you’re not worried or scared, you’re just awed. Fucking beautiful, man.”

“Sounds sweet,” Zeke said. “Reminds me of the time I went skydiving. That being scared you feel when you step outside of this little prop plane and the land is way, way below you and you’re like, ‘Why am I doing this? Jumping out of a plane that’s working just fine and can take me to the ground and why the hell am I jumping out of it?’ But you keep pressing forward, sliding outside so the instructor who’s on your back can get out too, and then you let go, just let go. And then the air rushes into your face, you’re not thinking at all, just taking it all in, the air and the feeling and the rush of it. And when you finally hit the ground, your heart’s pounding from all the adrenaline. Like you said, fucking beautiful, man.”

I don’t have any hang gliding or skydiving stories, so I searched my memory for something that could stack up to them. “One time when I went hiking with some buddies, the trail on the mountain got thinner and thinner, and there was a chain you could hold on to. It was bolted to the rock every few feet or so and hanging down between the bolts so you could hold it and not fall off. ‘Cause the mountain dropped off, just dropped off on the other side of the trail from the chain, and every now and then we’d send some small rocks to drop, and they’d bounce down the mountain, and you’d imagine your body doing the same thing as those rocks and how crazy bad that would hurt. So, of course, that just made us hold on the chain harder and keep on going.”

“Cool, that sounds really cool,” Mitch said. “That reminds me …” then he launched himself into a new story.

And on the stories went, swinging on vines around the living room as we lounged on the couch and easy chairs and laughed and sipped eggnog (which partied with bourbon inside our glasses).

Until, that is, we heard footsteps above us.

“Someone’s coming!” Zeke whispered in an alarmed whisper.

But these footsteps were not on the roof. They were closer, as in from the upstairs hallway. Then closer still, on the stairway that led down to us in the living room. I will be honest with you here: we were disappointed that the footsteps did not come from the chimneyway.

Grandpa’s striped pajama bottoms appeared, and then his pajama tops, and then his head. A disapproving expression was on his head.

“What are you fellas still doing up?” he asked. “Shouldn’t you be asleep?”

“We’re waiting for Gift Man,” Mitch said.

“Oh,” Grandpa said and thought for a couple of moments. “Sounds like that movie Waiting for Guffman. You know, the one directed by Christopher Guest. It came out in the late Nineties, I believe.”

We nodded our heads. Yes, it did sound like the title of that funny movie.

Grandpa scratched his beard. “Which, I’m sure you know, was a play off the play Waiting for Godot. Written by Samuel Beckett, a master of absurdism.”

We nodded our heads. Yes, on some level of knowledge, we knew that.

Grandpa continued. “What you may not know is that Beckett was possibly inspired by Balzac. You see, Balzac wrote a play many years before called Mercadet. It was also about waiting.” He paused to let that sink into our eggnog-soaked brains. “In turn, Balzac may have been inspired by a play before him. Possibly something from the Greeks, who were masters of the theater. As you well know.”

The three of us looked at each other. This was getting much deeper than our regaling of adventures. It was plainly (maybe painfully as well) obvious that we doubted our brains were ready for Grandpa’s lecture about the history of theater.

Grandpa looked at the fireless fireplace (which may simply be called “place”). I don’t know about the other guys, but I fervently hoped Gift Man would appear and bring a big, bold dash of color and excitement. If this was a TV show or movie, that would’ve certainly happened right then.

Then Grandpa added, “Actually, the same thing may be said about Santa Claus. You could hop, skip, and jump through history and folk tales to see the many figures who came before the man we think of now.”

“Germany, wasn’t it?” Zeke asked.

“Among others, yes,” Grandpa answered and gazed over at the beautifully lit and decorated Christmas tree. “Many countries were involved in that progression.” He sighed, and you could read a bone-tiredness in that sigh. “I’m sure we could have a long conversation about this. But, as for me, that’ll have to wait for another day. I need my sleep. Goodnight, fellas. You should turn in soon. Tomorrow is a big day.”

We said we would and bade him goodnight, and then we listened to his footsteps ascend the stairs, proceed down the hall, and enter his bedroom.

“Absurdism,” Mitch said. Just offered the word out there, like a sugar cookie on a tray. “What the hell isn’t absurd?”

Zeke and I pondered that word on the invisible tray, and I beat out Zeke in my reply: “Nothing. Not a damn thing.”

“Here, here,” said Zeke and raised his glass.

We all raised our glasses of nog and took a drink.

copyright © 2020 Dave Williams

Free Ebook: “Nobody Will Like This Book”

Book cover of Nobody Will Like This Book. A plain white background and the title is in gray.

I published a children’s book earlier this year, and I’m giving away the ebook version as the year winds down. The idea for the book came to me while I was working on The Dancing Fish. The illustrations in that poetry book were in gray, and I wondered if a kid’s book done in gray illustrations and plain white backgrounds would work.

And so we have Nobody Will Like This Book.

The ebook is free on Amazon today through Christmas day.

Here’s the description:

Plainly put, this book is worried that nobody will like it. This book has seen other books with beautiful pictures and colors on their covers. And some other books have pictures and colors on their inside pages. In contrast, this book has only grays on it. The book has drawings on the inside pages. Some of those drawings are a bit silly, so they can be fun. What’s also fun (and very nice) is when a friendly book comes by and tells this book that being different isn’t bad. Instead, it makes books special.

If you’d like to take a stroll through the book — complete with narration — check out the video. Click here if you’d rather watch it on YouTube.

I hope you enjoy the video and the book!