The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 10:18 am Thursday, October 19, 2017

“Different Opinions”

By Marie Craig

I am no marriage counselor, but I have some very strong words of wisdom for the couple that is contemplating marriage.  There is one topic that you do not discuss, but if you do, you will have a serious, serious argument.  I know, because I lost a boyfriend one time over this subject.

Never, ever discuss the function of a small rug.  It will highlight the inner, strong, unchangeable reasoning that you have.  A man thinks a rug is for wiping mud off his shoes, or the dog.  A woman thinks a rug is a decoration and to be avoided when walking nearby.

Once, when we arrived at our new home in the process of being built, it was locked and we had no key.  Finally, my husband found an unlocked window but to get to it, he had to walk through deep mud.  When he got the window open and stepped inside, he pulled a little rug over to step on.  I had no water except outside, no washer, no soap, not anything for the rug.  The floor was tiled and could have been easily wiped off.  My friend told me that her husband felt the same way.

Oh, the boyfriend I lost – we were grad students and went shopping for him a rug for his dorm room.  He picked up a pink rug and headed to the cash register.  “PINK, for a man?” That was the last time I saw him.

“Yesterday’s Nightmares”

By Kevin F. Wishon

I had a nightmare the other night. However, it wasn’t disturbing or scary at all; in fact, I enjoyed it. These days, I have several nightmares a year, but few, if any, ever trouble me. Instead, I enjoy looking for the source of stress that brings about these dreams; realizing it’s how our minds deal with unaddressed anxiety.

Usually, most nightmares are silly when considered with reality. The locations they occurred may no longer exist, or people involved have not been in our lives for decades. Additionally, nightmares incorporating the loss of control tend to be a common theme in our busy lives. Being late, lost or improperly dressed are unsettling at best. However, these are the dreams of an adult mind; it was the nightmares of my childhood that stretched beyond reality.

In my youth, my dad worked a three AM shift; the sounds, smells, and light coming from the kitchen as he prepared to leave frequently triggered nightmares. Several nightmares reoccurred periodically, but none occurred as often as the treacherous bridge.

In most of the situations, I would be walking across a bridge that stretched high above water or a chasm. As I progressed across the bridge, the structure would begin to deteriorate before my eyes until there was no safe place to step. It didn’t matter whether the bridge was stone, metal, or wood; they all collapsed, rusted, or rotted away before me. Invariably, I always fell to my death. Thankfully, I awoke before reaching the bottom.

Without a doubt, very high or spanning bridges were frightening for me as a child. Another dream that left me troubled and remains quite memorable in my mind was the not so empty house nightmare.

This dream always started with the family preparing to depart the house; my mother would lock the door while dad sat waiting in the car with my brother and me in the backseat. As mom approached the car, I would notice the curtains in the living room window moving. Despite, mom and dad’s calls, I opened the car door and crossed the yard to peer in at the living room window. With difficulty, I strained to see inside; once I did, the scene inside was disturbing. Hordes of dark creatures covered the floors, walls, and furniture. Nothing was left undisturbed, as these monsters poured out of the darkness to take advantage of our absence. Then there was a moment when the horde realized I was watching and rushes towards me attacking with vicious teeth and claws. At this point, I would awake in a panic.

Thankfully, I dealt with my fear of heights and darkness years ago; more accurately, life has forced me to confront these fears. However, on occasion, when I see an old wooden bridge over a chasm, deep inside I feel a slight twinge, and my heart begins to beat faster.

In Acknowledgement of

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

“Abused, Broken, Rebuilt, Part 2”

By Julie Terry Cartner

Looking back, she realizes that as horrific as the physical abuse was, it doesn’t hold a candle to the years of emotional abuse.  Whereas she could tell you of each hit, each blow, each break and each bruise, the emotional torture was so much more insidious, so much more invasive. She even tries to catalogue exactly when it started, and to her horror, she can’t. It was too subtle, too innocuous. “No, you don’t have time to call your parents; we have to go.” “Are you wearing that?” “I’m sorry, you’ll have to talk to your sister later; my family is waiting.” “If that’s the best you can do, maybe you ought to try doing something else.” “You mean, you’d rather spend the evening with your friends? I expect you to be with me.”

And then when she did call her parents, when she did call her siblings, he’d find excuses to come into the room and listen in, or make comments, or even take over the telephone and shut her out. At first he played the charming spouse, then over time, his brusque comments let it be known that their calls were unwanted.  Little by little, she saw less and less of her friends. Little by little, her phone conversations became shorter and shorter until they almost ceased to exist. Little by little, she retreated into her shell, getting quieter and quieter.

She didn’t realize then how worried her family was for her. She’d always been the quiet one, but now she was so much less, almost as if she were slowly ceasing to exist. They tried to call her, but were sometimes given a curt, “She’s not home now,” or if she answered the phone they were often given only monosyllabic replies and then silence followed by “I’ve got to go.” She didn’t realize at first that she had become a shadow of herself; she didn’t realize that she was pushing her family away, and that suicide occurred in many ways. It didn’t have to be violent; instead, it could be a slow, silent slip into nothingness, only a void left where she’d been.

She could almost be grateful for that last attack, hands wrapped tightly around her throat, only the action of her beloved dog saving her life. Grabbing the dog and running to the car, she escaped and gave herself the grace of time and distance that she needed. Only then returning home just long enough to quietly state the simple but profound words, “I’m through; it’s over,” pack her belongings, and leave. Taking nothing from their shared life, she found a place to live and slowly, cautiously, timidly began putting her life back together.

Little by little, she returned, the shadow becoming form once again. Little by little, she re-learned how to talk to her family, care for herself, and put the pieces of her life back together. But unlike a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces never fit again the same way; edge pieces were crooked, center pieces formed lines instead of connections. She kept the armor firmly around herself at first, not able to let the surfaces crack for fear she would break into a million pieces, never to be whole again.

But time and faith, family and friends continued working; ebbing and flowing like the tides, and slowly, surely she emerged from her shell, no longer the same, but a stronger and wiser version of herself. Finally she was able to love and trust another, and the sharp edges of her life became gentle curves and open planes.

“The Red Headed Twins”

By Gaye Hoots

My children were grown,

My grandchildren were too.

A great granddaughter was

Old enough for middle school.

We had suffered the loss of

One we held dear when we

Learned twins were due before

The end of the year.

The two girls arrived on my

Late father’s birthday.

It was clear from the start

They had come here to play.

Now it’s all grins and giggles,

It’s giggles and grins.

Wearing my rose colored glasses,

Loving the red headed twins.