130 Tales: 81 through 90

I find it difficult to maintain a positive, creative mood for an extended period of time. Issues of worth are always seeping in; exhaustion is always creeping around the corner of my mind, readying to build it’s walls all around my creativity; that monster Reality is always whispering into my ear that you should set your sights somewhere more realistic, somewhere that is full of job-security and social acceptance and banal conversation. These demons always appear, given time, but I can usually count on them showing up just after I’ve passed that midway hump in whatever project I’m working on. And when they do, cerebrally, it becomes very difficult to continue. What’s the point, is the common refrain at this time; it’s repeated so often it almost becomes a daily maxim.

That’s why it is so refreshing to find commonality in those you admire, those you respect, those that have surpassed the level of creativity you didn’t even know existed. Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, confirmed this for me recently. Check out the strip here. It is beautiful.

I’m surprised and pleased with the tales in this decade. Probably the strongest decade-as-a-whole so far. Makes me excited for what’s to come.

~

130 Tales

# 81 through 90

81. Her smile becomes permanent, her eyes wide as the actors live their lives for her. She’s fallen in love while they are shopping.

82. His brow wrinkled. His palms glistened as he wrung his hat between them. He never thought he’d be ashamed to come back here.

83. His fingers were red and he smelled of ice. With every breath his eyes lit and his chest wheezed. We drank tea as I told my tale.

84. He put his hand above his eyes to ward off the sun’s attacks. A trail of dust in the distance. No one comes this way, he thought.

85. It’s always surprising to Leonard how easily the earth gives to the force of a hoe, as if it were consciously making life easier.

86. He forgot how much he loved the squeak of his shoes on the court. Finally healed, Neil was prepared to hear it all night long.

87. Her cuffs jumped gently atop her calico gloves. Fingers protected, they attacked the chord then hopped back in caution.

88. She caught the image in her phone. But now she’s seeing everyone’s eyes on her and thinks she needs to get off the streets.

89. It’s like everyone felt for him. When the shelves of oranges fell it was automatic. Now everyone who walks by is picking one up.

90. It was like a rite of passage; like Hamlet being sent overseas, she’s returned home to demand respect and to tell what happened.

Past Decades:

Numbers 1 through 10

Numbers 11 through 20

Numbers 21 through 30

Numbers 31 through 40

Numbers 41 through 50

Number 51 through 60

Numbers 61 through 70

Numbers 71 through 80

130 Tales: 71 through 80

The healing continues. Of both body and mind and the various social areas of my life. A shock like a lightning bolt sent through my entire existence rattled me quite badly and only now is the buzzing diminishing. We struggle against many things in our daily lives while making commitments to remaining constant. The worlds we create, the worlds we float between, from when we wake up, to when we go to work, to when we work and play and find time alone all overlap, like the most complex Venn diagram, and it’s difficult to realize that if one part of it falters, the effects are felt in each area. And on the opposite, if one is happy, if one is healthy, if one is inspired the effects emanate, just like that lightning bolt, from one area to the next. We trick ourselves into thinking we can truly separate areas of our lives from each other.

Re-doing this project makes me aware of this, as I cut and paste and repost these entries without editing and try to remember everything that was happening to me all those years ago when I was writing each entry. I think it’s allowing me to see my current situation / context of living a bit clearer.

Number 73 is one of my favourite entries in this entire project.

130 Tales

# 71 – 80

71. She finds it hard to keep her face straight. It’s as if the muscles grew too large overnight, like gravity doubled its hold.

72. The door swings open, although you wouldn’t notice it. A mystery enters the room, nameless until a hand lights the lamp.

73. He doesn’t know where the day went. All he knows is that it’s night again and he said he wouldn’t do this anymore.

74. She laces her boot on the bench while her friend, hands busy zipping up her winter coat, scans the road, cautious of strange eyes.

75. He was a silhouette against a lit room. Staring at the city with borrowed eyes he took time to personally address his audience.

76. He could see all the stories spilling out of its ripped leather. And as he knelt before the briefcase the world melted away.

77. She could see him. She noticed him but he couldn’t notice her. Where was she?

78. The split wooden staircase climbs the hillside like a crab. They lead to a house holding onto the earth for its life.

79. It was like opening a time capsule, that one you prepared when we were children. I didn’t expect it to be that bright.

80. A haze descends on the city, coating its people’s screams with a deaf cage and an unfriendly cold.

Past Decades:

Numbers 1 through 10

Numbers 11 through 20

Numbers 21 through 30

Numbers 31 through 40

Numbers 41 through 50

Number 51 through 60

Numbers 61 through 70

130 Tales: 61 through 70

I’ve fallen behind again. In posting this. In keeping true to this project. I missed last week’s post, mostly due to the SummerWorks previews I had going in full swing. I decided to put it off. And then a lot of stuff happened. Like falling off my bike and cracking my left radial bone at the elbow.  Like receiving and dealing with rather difficult familial news, the kind of news you never want to receive or deal with all the while trying to sort out some looming problem in another emotional aspect of my life. All of this, recently, has left me seemingly broken in three ways.

This, this is why I’ve forgotten about this project.

But I am back. And I am more or less coherent. And I can type. And write. And I want to make art because I’ve got a lot of stuff going on and, really, it’s the only way I know how to express it.

And it’s very funny, or serendipitous, that a lot of what I feel is mirrored in this decade of tales from three years ago. The unexpected coincidences are always the best.

~

130 Tales

# 61 – 70

61. It feels like mush. A thick haze floats through all the bumps and ridges. If it were a colour I’d imagine it’d be chain-link gray.

62. He’s always been a slave to his addictions.

63. Elle smiles with blackened rings. The bags on her lap make her back ache but her eyes dance on passing houses like they were free.

64. His attention is focused on the door. Outside: he knows it’s there readying its forces, prepared to stage an assault on his heat.

65. It used to be her favourite position: sitting with both knees at her breasts. Now it’s like leaden fire because of that one game.

66. They huddle under the overhang as if to be shielded from the cold. Arms around her waist, bodies close but only thoughts of cold.

67. It sounds fake, like they installed a mechanical lung inside. Harsh breath, the sound of one working for two. “Does it hurt?”

68. He hasn’t stepped into these boots for a while, but they felt exactly the same. All of his old adventures came rushing back.

69. His hope is renewed with the climbing sun. Although he can’t see it, hidden amongst a curtain of clouds, he feels its smile.

70. His fingers, nails flecked with silver, support the spine of a book. In bright red letters it reads out “Happiness.”

Past Decades:

Numbers 1 through 10

Numbers 11 through 20

Numbers 21 through 30

Numbers 31 through 40

Numbers 41 through 50

Number 51 through 60

130 Tales: 51 through 60

The steep ascent to the halfway point of this project has past-me slowing down a little bit. The incline seems to be getting to me, as past-me tends a bit more towards the theoretical, the not-quite-cohesive, the just plain uninspired. I can clearly tell most of these were written on transit either to or from work. I’d say most of the entries in this decade are terrible but… yeah, no, most of the entries in this decade are terrible, in my present opinion.

There are a few gems, though. I like the image Number 52 sets up; there’s something sweet and sad about it.

Number 56 is probably my favourite out of the bunch except for the last sentence! Totally unnecessary! It would have been much stronger if it ended, “That’s why his tongue kept moving in and around.” Don’t add another character, past-me. Not yet. Not when you’ve just set up such an interesting initial one. Especially not if second character is just an observer. So boring!

Number 59 is clunky, but has some potential.

And I think I do actually enjoy Number 60: it’s a basic story we can all figure out afterward it ends; it’s an easy-in to a much larger adventure.

All the rest, though, terrible.

~

130 Tales

# 51 – 60

51. My wheels grew corners. Now all I can do is moan and whine like everyone else.

52. Their only time together is on the train; their laughter’s born so deep you’d never know there wasn’t a Christmas tree.

53. The ancient streets; his eyes resting on crystals and it’s all he can do to keep his heart from breaking his ribs.

54. He’s studying the unknown; a query into the collective soul: cars driving two by two, feet matching rhythms. What is instinct?

55. When she realised she could do anything, nothing remained sacred. So she went on a journey through forest and hill.

56. His teeth felt wrong: all squares and triangles. That’s why his tongue kept moving in and around. I’m sure he was self-conscious.

57. “What do I know? I am the story of a man in transit. That’s what I’ll write. But I can’t promise an end or anything.”

58. Cold hands grab my ribs as I stare at the night-covered smoke caressing the sky.

59. His ringed hand swirls the finger of scotch. His head leans forward, “But what can you do for me?”

60. The mountain seems so far away. Her face illuminated as she huddles, typing in the dimly lit villa: ‘8am – overcome fear.’

~

Past Decades:

Numbers 1 through 10

Numbers 11 through 20

Numbers 21 through 30

Numbers 31 through 40

Numbers 41 through 50