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October Blog Chain: Halloween

By Cath | October 20, 2009

A little over 4 years ago today, I sat in this swing seat and watched the sun slide into the lake. It was my very first day living in the USA, and as I watched the darkness swallow the sky I was excited … and more than a little scared.

Autumn is a time of transformation – and so it has been for me. I moved to the USA in late autumn, three years ago we moved into our new house  on Halloween night, two years ago I started a new job. Every year, around Halloween, my life changes in some way – subtle or significant (sometimes both).

So it’s fitting that Halloween is the last day of the year in the Pagan calendar. The end of one cycle and the start of another.

The northern hemisphere starts the new cycle under the frozen skies, when the world is sleeping. The cycle begins with a bare bones, black & white sketch of a picture to which we add a dab of color here, and a twist of light there. Slowly, throughout the cycle, the picture develops dab by dab. Our experiences color it with blood reds and calming blues – play with each color, with shades and intensity, until we find the perfect balance and move on. As the cycle closes, we see the full painting complete – every dab of paint exactly where it should be – and the picture is glorious and rich.

For me, Halloween is a time to celebrate this completion – to reflect on the cycle past and look forward to the cycle to come. It’s a reminder to stop, and pause, and raise a glass to the experiences that colored in this glorious oil painting before we start again with a new canvas.

Happy Halloween – and may the coming cycle be filled with color.

Check out the other entries in the blogchain. The others are:
1. Lost Wanderer –
2. Claire Crossdale –
3. Angela 785 –
4. Ravencorinncarluk –
5. Angyl78 –
6. shethinkstoomuch –
7. trulyana –
8. Bsolah –
9. freshhell –
10. Ralph Pines –
11. aimeelaine –
12. HigherEdUnderground –
13. Cath – that’s me!
14. DavidZahir –

Topics: Writing | 6 Comments »

A change of pace.

By Cath | December 2, 2007

Virginia Lee, is running AW’s Flash Fiction Carnival the Third. The theme is transformation.

Death of a Muse
by Cath Smith

Rusted leaves float on the surface, bobbing up and down like tiny sail boats on wind-blown waves. I watch them from the front porch, wondering how cold the water felt on her skin, and whether the dying leaves remembered.

It was our favorite place, here on the porch. From the wooden swing seat you can see to the east, out across the lake. On the far side, the mountains rise blue in the mornings, and burn a brilliant red at sunset. We used to watch them together.

I don’t know when it ended. Or I can’t remember.

There’s no one time or place when it stopped, no new beginning, no butterfly transformation. It was a gradual shift, slow as the creeping continents. I almost didn’t notice she was gone.

I try and remember that sweet smell of jasmine. For a blissful moment, I think I have it. I reach out in hope. But it slips, it slithers away. It hovers out of reach, taunting and teasing me with a memory too faint to grasp. The bush behind me lies dead, its barren branches eating into the fragile frame of our nirvana.

She would whisper to me here, tell tales of the breeze murmuring in the tips of the trees, or sing about the birds, circling high above. She gave my world texture, painted it in vibrant hues. She gave me fever, passion, a lust to hear and sense and feel everything – everything there was to know. I devoured it, every tiny sensation, every tingling hair. I knew the embarrassment of love, and the soothing stab of pain. I knew the obsessions of mice and the playfulness of snowflakes. Nothing was beyond my grasp.

But the fevers burned brightly and fast. In a shudder they were gone, and I would tire of her stories, told over and again. They lost the sweet shimmer of morning dew. And then, I’d brush her off. Close her down and walk away. Then come back hungry as the sun broke the sky, thirsting for her and sucking her dry.

And it strikes me only now, after all this time, that I never once gave anything back. Like the jasmine, she remained untamed, cared for only by the weather and the open skies.

I always knew she would leave. Or I think now that I did. Perhaps that is why I hungered; perhaps that is why I drank so fast. Perhaps, in some tiny corner of my soul, I knew her time was brief.

Or perhaps I drove her away. Perhaps my moods and my insolence became too much to bear. Perhaps I devoured her too fast.

And perhaps it doesn’t matter any more.

Because it’s too late for apologies.

I never saw her leave, not really. I only saw the ripples on the lake and half-wondered at the fractured reflections. And I pretended to hear her voice.

But it was only an echo.

Topics: Writing | 19 Comments »

Fatal flaws: AW Blogchain no 11.

By Cath | October 3, 2007

Kat posted a thought provoking entry to the AW blogchain (you can read it here: Taking Control). She said one thing in particular that I’d like to pick up:

“Each and every person on this planet has a hole, a flaw (at least one!!). ”

She’s not kidding. I grew up all too aware of my flaws, my imperfections. But there’s one that’s really my undoing.

I like to take things apart.

Ok, in itself, maybe not so bad. Most of the time. Curiosity is healthy. Isn’t it? Unless you’re a cat, of course.

Apparently, I’m a cat.

I’ll use an example. I enjoy photography. And I had one camera that wasn’t working so well. I tracked the problem down to the lens. So, being me, I picked up the lens and saw a wee screw head on the rim.

“Oooh, I have a screwdriver just that size,” I thought. And I ran to get it.

Of course, it wasn’t just one screw. Lenses are built in layers. You take one layer out to get to the next. The layer I wanted (the shutter) was right at the far end, so I took them all out, one by one.

It’s a shame I didn’t put them in order or anything. Or, you know, label them as something useful.

I fixed the shutter, by the way, but by the time I’d got that back in, I couldn’t remember how everything else went together. And try as I might, I couldn’t get it back together.

I still have that lens. I keep it in a plastic lunchbox. And yes, it’s still in pieces.

It’s an expensive fault sometimes. But I wish that were all. You see, it’s not just physical things I like to strip down. I do it to me too. When I find something wrong with me, with my writing or anything like that, I take it apart. I examine it in such great detail that I lose sight of how everything else comes together and I end up a mess – broken and almost impossible to repair.

Because I forget sometimes that flaws are human, and that not everything has to work perfectly all the time.

And on that awe-inspiring note, I’m going to pass you over to Jen at Confessions of a Fat Chick.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the rest of the chain:

Virtual Wordsmith
(The Blog Formerly Known as) Taosbound
Virginia Lee: I Ain’t Dead Yet!
Kappa No He
Playing With Words
A Thoughtful Life
Mad About Kites
Confessions of a Fat Chick
The Death Wizard Chronicles
Food History
A View From The Waterfront

Topics: Writing | 9 Comments »

This night will be bad…

By Cath | December 11, 2007

… and tomorrow will be beyond imagining.

I don’t quite know why – perhaps it’s the atmosphere of the book, or the sense of mystery that surrounds a dead world – but I always read ‘The Dark is Rising’ at this time of year. I guess it’s a Christmas tradition.

Susan Cooper’s words remind me so strongly of the English countryside, they are rooted so deeply in real places – places I know, places I can see and smell when I read them – that they almost make me feel homesick.


But the real reason I love her stories is because they’ve grown from the legends I grew up with, Wayland the Smith, Herne the Hunter, the Old Ways, Tethys and the Green Witch, King Arthur and his sleeping knights. They’re steeped in English history, heritage, and folklore. And this is a time of year for remembering. Because by remembering, we bring the world back to life. Because it’s not dead, it’s just sleeping for a while.

The Walker is abroad, he said again, “and this night will be bad, and tomorrow will be beyond imagining.” The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper.

Topics: Books | 4 Comments »

TRANSFORM: Flash Fiction Carnival III

By Cath | December 9, 2007

It’s up!  The FLASH FICTION CARNIVAL III is here, over at Virginia Lee’s blog.

Topics: Writing | No Comments »

Writing by hand

By Cath | November 11, 2007

You know, there have been so many posts about writing by hand on this debacle that I actually picked up a pen.

My writing is stalled, I thought, why not?

My beautiful script.Why not indeed? It’s true, I got a few pages written. And my hand didn’t tire (I’ve been in too many exams for a three hour writing session to tire me). And whaddya know – it’s almost legible too!

So come on, fellow debaclers – what does your handwriting look like?

(I suddenly feel sorry for all the examiners who had to decode this mess).

Topics: Writing | 9 Comments »

Three days and counting

By Cath | October 28, 2007

Until the race begins!  Yup, the Great Tea Debacle starts 1st November.  And Lori’s posted the summaries for our stories up on The Commune.

Check them out!

Topics: Life, the Universe and Everything Else | No Comments »

It’s Rugby World Cup time again.

By Cath | September 11, 2007

So the blog will fall quiet for a bit. In the meantime – enjoy this wonderful moment from the last one:

Topics: Life, the Universe and Everything Else | 1 Comment »

Home grown

By Cath | August 30, 2007

Well, it’s time for the Absolute Write Blogchain no. 10. and I’m picking up from Peggy’s post in the last blogchain.

Peggy talked about local food and how easy it was to take the path of least resistance by buying from a supermarket. And she reminded me of one thing I left behind in Scotland that I haven’t been able to find (yet) in Ohio.

The central belt in Scotland holds most of the towns and cities. It bridges the gap between the two major rivers, the Forth and the Clyde. The area is industrial and deprived and at many times, frightening. Even Edinburgh, which has a reputation for being filled with the genteel rich, has some of the poorest areas in the UK. We lived on the fringes of that central belt in a town called Kirkcaldy (pronounced Kir-koddy). Kirkcaldy was built around coal mines and a linoleum factory. It’s rough. But just a short drive away you emerge into the beautiful Scottish countryside. There are small-but-active fishing villages, the famous St. Andrews (along with it’s golf course), and miles and miles of fertile farm land.

It’s the farmland that made the difference. There were farmer’s markets in town every other weekend with fresh fruit and vegetables, organic reared pork, fresh fish, venison and a whole host of fantastic, home-made produce. All from local sources. And that wasn’t all. The drive on my way home from work passed two organic farms where I could stop in and pick up whatever was seasonal.

It was a good life – for food anyway.

But here, there isn’t any of that. But I don’t miss it (except the venison), because I’ve found something better. Here, I have a garden. And we’re growing our own organic fruit and veg. And let me tell you – there’s nothing a sweet as a tomato picked two minutes before, or an eggplant taken straight from the stalk and grilled on the barbeque. Or squash soup made with totally home-grown ingredients. And I’m really looking forward to the pumpkin pies from my small sugar pumpkins.

Because there is something better than buying locally, and that’s growing locally. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So, I know it’s not midnight, but let’s see what my friend Midnight Muse has to say about my ramblings in the next post on the chain.

Blogchain participants:
My Midnight Muse
(The Blog Formerly Known as) Taosbound
Virtual Wordsmith
The Death Wizard Chronicles
Food History
Kappa No He
A piece in the puzzle
Sound Off Blog
Virginia Lee: I Ain’t Dead Yet!

Topics: Life, the Universe and Everything Else | 11 Comments »

I know I shouldn’t…

By Cath | August 28, 2007

But I just can’t help myself.

It happens every time I get my haircut. I walk into the salon, the girl says “what do you want?” and I stare into the mirror and think Hmmm. Facelift might do it.

Of course, a haircut’s the next best thing. My problem? I can’t help tormenting the girl cutting my hair. When she asks me what I want done, I always say “well, what do you think?”

That’s when the jaw drops. If I’m really lucky they do the whole feeding fish thing.

OK – so why do I do it?

The answer’s not because I’m mean (although I am, just a little). I know from the way they respond how good they’re going to be. The ones who pull off the best goldfish impressions just get asked to trim it, the ones who offer an opinion actually get to cut my hair.

And, of course — I’m mean.

Topics: Life, the Universe and Everything Else | 5 Comments »

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