Roscoe and the Seagulls

The blur of fur
across the sand
rises the colony
into air’s safety

Golden retriever’s joyous bark
the angry cry of seagulls

Roscoe realizes the birds
won’t play,
so he surges off

The gulls fly to a safer part
of the beach
to continue their debate
over which novel about
seafaring is the best

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Free Ebook: ‘Red Tree’

Cover of The Red Tree. The background is white. An image of a leaf-less tree is in black, with red tips of the branches.

The next ebook that can be scooped up for free is much shorter than the previous novellas. The Red Tree is free today through Friday (July 23). If you’d like to scoop up the book, click here.

A description of this story…

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.

Even shorter than the story is its excerpt, which can be found here.

Book Review: ‘Swinging Sanity’

Front cover of Swinging Sanity, on which there is an illustration of a woman's face with various colors on her cheeks and forehead

Swinging Sanity by N. F. Mirza 

Many people may not feel the urge to have an outlet that helps them process life’s struggles. Others feel that urge. And some of them use poetry to try to convey the landscape within themselves.

In the first stanza of the first poem (“Anything but Sane”), N.F. Mirza likens herself to a “restless lioness.” A powerful image. And the description comes through the poems in this book, particularly in the restlessness of emotions and thoughts.

Some of these poems are difficult to read — “Celebrating the Curse” describes self-harm behavior. I can only begin to imagine the difficulty of writing them. Not only that, but drawing the portraits in the book. Each section of poems begins with a drawing and a quotation. The drawing for “Anything but Sane” shows a face with wide, expressive eyes — perhaps filled with anxiety.

Through the poems and drawings comes a vulnerability of Ms. Mirza being open about her feelings. And with that vulnerability, a courage of making them available to the public. That courage creates the possibility of readers realizing they are not alone in experiencing similar emotions.

Some poems include contemplations with touching descriptions. Like the poet blending with water in “Ocean and I Become One.” Then her soul sitting on a bench, its back positioned toward the world, in “The Day I Sat by My Soul.” These descriptions are moving. Also, they offer inspirations for having our own contemplations about where we might find a bit of understanding and moments of peace.

The book is available on Amazon.

You can read more of the poet’s writings on her blog.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you to Lauren over at Lauren M. Hancock Poetry and Prose for nominating me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. She writes luminous, thoughtful pieces, and I certainly recommend checking out her blog.

The rules for nominees are to answer 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you, and then nominate 11 others for the award.

Respectfully, I’m going to pass on nominating others. I feel awkward about blogger awards.

But it wasn’t awkward to answer the questions:

  1. How do you deal with regretful situations?
    I try to learn from them. Which is an ongoing challenge… I frequently tell myself, Darn it! I should’ve said or done this instead of that when thinking about a previous situation. Ah, the benefit of having time to meditate on a situation, rather than the immediacy of being in one.
  2. What is a joyous moment for you?
    Mornings. There’s a freshness to them. It’s when I work on my personal projects: writing and drawing.
  3. When you’re inspired to write, is it in a frenzy or a controlled manner, how do the words flow onto the page?
    Depends on the day. When my writing clicks, it comes out in a rush. I love, love, love those times. Other days, however, writing is like walking through ankle-deep molasses while carrying a St. Bernard on my shoulders. At least the dog is sleeping, so it’s not squirming. That would be difficult to carry.
  4. What is the most important object in your life, and what significance does it hold for you?
    If family can be accepted in this category, that’s my answer. Family is very important to me. If we’re talking inanimate objects, I would choose photographs. They spark memories of times that are special to me.
  5. Are you a coffee or a tea person?
    Tea. Regular tea in the morning, sometimes green tea in the afternoon. Tea can bring comfort.
  6. What would be your ideal way to enjoy a Sunday?
    Going for a walk in the woods with my wife and two daughters. Or a walk through a museum.
  7. Name one hobby that you enjoy and why.
    I consider writing and drawing to be hobbies, since they’re not paying my bills. I really enjoy both of them. To name one: writing. When it clicks with me, I’m transported to another place, another time, actions playing out before me. Akin to how reading a story can transport me. But with writing, the words of action and thoughts are invented one by one in front of me, rather than all the words have already been formed and packaged into a book. And that’s wondrous.
  8. Share a treasured memory of yours?
    Going to playgrounds when my daughters were younger, seeing the joy on their faces as they ran from the slide to the swings to the climbing structure. Those were beautiful times.
  9. Name a favourite song of yours from a musical.
    Funny Face is a delightful movie, and the scene in the basement cafe is fun. I don’t think there’s singing in the song, just dancing while the musicians play jazzy/funky instrumental music.
  10. Would you consider yourself an extrovert or introvert?
    Definitely an introvert.
  11. And does this affect the way you write for your blog?
    I’m not sure. I wonder… Would I write as much if I was extroverted? Or would I spend more time on other social media sites that are more fast-paced, like Facebook and Twitter? Curious stuff.

Is a Poem about Grains of Sand on a Beach too Pretentious?

I was wondering that question,
lying on a floral beach towel,
a speck in a crowd
of swimsuited people—
all of us lumps of cookie dough
glazed with sunscreen and coconut oil
baking in this oven.

I lift a handful of sand,
watch the grains
cascade in the spaces
between my fingers,
thinking there’s
got to be metaphors
for time, uniqueness, perseverance—
maybe insignificance
if you’re in that kind of mood.

But above the ocean,
a small plane flies before us,
towing a banner
advertising a restaurant’s
all-you-can-eat buffet,
and the sand falls from my hand,

copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Free Ebook: ‘Don’t Lose Your Head’

Cover of Don't Lose Your Head. The background is dark gray, with black drips. In the foreground is a photo showing a business suit and tie -- but there is no head above the suit.

A ghost story is my next ebook to be free — starting today and lasting through Tuesday (July 20). This novella, Don’t Lose Your Head, can be found on Amazon.

A little more about this spooky book…

When you leave for a trip, who knows you’re gone from your house? Family and friends, sure. Neighbors, perhaps.

So does the chauffeur who drove you to the airport. Alan Burris takes advantage of working for a car service to know when clients will be away from their houses for several nights. Some houses are easier, since they don’t have a security system — and these houses are on his list for a night visit to steal valuables.

The Resnick house has been on Alan’s list for a while, and now it will be empty for a few nights, since Mr. and Mrs. Resnick are spending a long weekend in Chicago.

But is the house really empty? Alan’s about to find out what it’s like to not be alone in the house, his  car, his apartment, and his head. And with another person hanging around, to what length will Alan go to get rid of them?

You can discover how this story starts by reading an excerpt of the first chapter here.

Bike Flights

We took turns
pedaling our bikes
to the boardwalk’s edge
jumped off
too-brief moment of flight
two boys without wings

The goal was to let go
of your bike in the air,
so you’d land separately
on the beach

One time I failed,
to land entangled
with my bike,
but the pain was worth
the flying and memories