Wrandom Writing: hah! OK – I’m a smartass: I know. I always have been. I thought I’d use this page to post links to random (not novel related) stuff I write from time to time. Much of this is material I’ve written as homework for my Pen to Paper writing group of the Windmore Foundation in Culpeper VA (which is a wonderful group!). I’ll add new pieces occasionally. Some titles of larger pieces are linked– just tap on the title–while below them are pasted-in very short stories. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them, and that you will let me know of your thoughts.
Links to stories:
- “Delia” is a gentle story about a young girl and her great-great-aunt’s ghost.
- “Independence, Someday ” is about a woman starting to come to terms with loss.
tap on the link to view in PDF
Some other stories:
Written by Carolyn Melander Osborne
To Be Green
“que te quiero verde”
Bullets spayed across Miguel, hitting him in his chest and hip and he went down. Through his shock he heard someone say quietly, “He is still alive. We must hide him.” That is Diego speaking. Paco’s voice said, “Let’s be quick and quiet, then. They’ll be here soon. We must run.”
Together Paco and Diego half-carried half-dragged him and he passed out. Next, he heard Paco say. “Be well, my friend. We’ll return for you when it’s safe.” He forced his eyes open and nodded. Over Paco’s shoulder he thought he saw pair of golden eyes peering down from a tree. Is that a jaguar? Weak, he dropped his head back on the soft ground. He was well hidden, lying on a bare patch of loam within a high cluster of helechos grandes, large ferns. Over him stood a big, ancient tree heavily draped with a vanilla orchid vine. He became dizzy and lost consciousness again.
Sometime later he opened his eyes and looked up into the trees around him. They were green and beautiful, the trees of his land. My mother, my homeland, I am not sorry to die for you. The pain was not bad, and his blood was soaking into the ground beneath him and that made him glad. I give this to you, my mother. The gold eyes were still watching, unblinking, and he thought the jaguar would soon come to him and speed his death. I love my home. I die for my home. He drifted off into a vague dream.
He awoke to the scent of vanilla. Leaning over him was a slender, green girl: her skin the color and smooth texture of orchid leaves, her eyes were as gold as the jaguar’s. Her fingernails looked like pale yellow-green petals and her dark hair like tendrils of the vines above them. She had removed his clothes and was looking at his wounds, weeping. As her tears fell on them, the pain in his hip went away, and the hole in his chest stopped whistling with his breath. He reached up, wiped her cheek with one finger and touched it to his tongue. Her tears tasted like blossom nectar. She turned her golden eyes to his face and touched it gently, then leaned forward and kissed his mouth. When the tip of her tongue entered between his lips, he tasted nectar again. He felt a surge of joy and energy, and they kissed again and again. She lay over him, pressing her body tightly against his. She felt cool and smooth and generous and it was as if they were becoming one being, their bodies melded together. He felt both serene and excited and they lay together for uncountable moments. When his time came, his body gave up all it had to her and he died.
On the following day, Paco and Diego returned just as soon they saw the soldiers leave. The fern grove where they had left Miguel was marked around with jaguar prints and covered with a big heavy limb from the old tree, wrapped in a dense tangle of vanilla vine. The vine’s long green leaves were set off everywhere with large, pale blossoms they hadn’t noticed the day before. No one answered when they called. “He must be dead under all that weight, all those vines,” Paco said, sadly. “I don’t think we can get him out.”
“I believe this is the grave Miguel would want the most,” Diego answered, He wiped his eyes and respectfully kneeled on the dark soil of the little clearing among the tall ferns. They prayed and said farewell to their friend and walked away grieving as little droplets of nectar dripped on them from the vines above and golden eyes among green leaves watched them go.
March 5, 2019
“que te quiero verde” (‘I love/want you green”) is from Romance Sonambulista by Federico Garcia Lorca
Photo of Vanilla planifolia from Wikipedia
Written by Carolyn Melander Osborne
This was inspired by Greg Egan’s Diaspora.
When Arnhi and Gerye made contact, it was at the suggestion of one of the ancients of the Pettre Compound. They agreed to meet on Earth as avatars at a hotel tea parlor near Delhi in the 1870’s. They had no gender themselves, of course, but they each, separately, had chosen to be female, assuming the bodies of young Victorian British ladies. They wore lace trimmed white dresses and flowered hats, and enjoyed their tea on a shady veranda.
Gerye loved the dressing up and thought the tea delicious, but was a bit nervous. Ahrni saw this and put ell’s fears to rest easily.
“Back in time this, what we’re doing, was called a ‘blind date’,” Ahrni sipped some tea. “Beings made arrangements to meet a person they didn’t yet know, usually of opposite genders — since there were genders then — at the suggestion of a third party. It usually was done with a possible further relationship in mind. They met in public locations, for safety from the problems corporeality brought with it – -physical imperfections, bad matches, even possible violence. We’ve all heard the terrible stories. But, my great-grands met on a blind date, so they were good things also, it seems. It’s a very strange idea: dressing one’s avatar to impress someone else, and wondering how the other entity will look. So much energy expended for a facade gives you few ways of learning who ell really is. So, this is quite novel, quite nice, though not enough in itself. Gerye, tell me, who do you know in Pettre Compound?”
“Really only my mentor, Myrwen. Ell told me I am much less experienced than you; my entity was formed only a few cycles back. I’m nearly done with my basics now, and Myrwen said you’d be good for my advanced emotional learning. Ell holds you in great regard.”
Staying in type, Arnhi’s avatar blushed and looked down for a minute. “Myrwen has been one of my close partners for many cycles. Ell is special to me, and I value ell’s opinion. It was Myrwen who suggested you to me, as well. Gerye, do you want me to love you? Do you want to love me? Are you ready for that?”
Gerye considered, feeling so nervous that ell nearly blinked out, but then looked at their reflections in the restaurant window: two lovely Victorian ladies. “We each chose a beautiful avatar: symmetrical in features and, as it turned out, symmetrical to each other, as well. We started this date trying to please each other, and I think that is a good sign. But, Arnhi, you’re right – what you said about dressing up. Of course, I need to consider more, to know you more, before we start involvement.”
“I agree. I like you, and Myrwen cares about you. I believe I’d enjoy your being one of those I love. But, we need to grow understanding of each other to become lovers. And, we can. We have all the time in the cosmos.” Arnhi stood up. “Let’s have fun together while we do that.”
Agreeing and trusting, Gerye took ell’s hand. They paid the bill and walked a discreet distance from the veranda and then blinked out of the physical state. They floated, together, through the Solar system, visiting Ceres, passing Jupiter and Saturn, and the moons of Pluto, then moved into the cold rockiness of the Kuyper Belt. They attached themselves to a comet and rode it for a while, and then moved much farther away from Sol, passing dark, giant planets. In their non-corporeal state, time had no relevance, only experience: for eons, or seconds, they traveled through brilliantly spangled arms of the galaxy. Sharing thoughts, ideas and stories, they spent all that folded time of travel learning each other.
As they were circling Alpha Centuri, Gerye ventured, “I think now I could love you, Arnhi.”
“And I, you.” Arnhi moved closer to Gerye, pulling ell into an embrace. They melded together entirely, filling each other with their being. Moving as one back toward Sol’s planets, they chose to love corporally, too, choosing Earth as a playground, and human form, freely interchanging between male and female. Then they loved in the forms of other Earth mammals. Finally tired out, they became two perfectly symmetrical, beautiful bronze seals lying in the surf and sand of a quiet Pacific island. There they slept together for the first time, for a very long or a very short time.
At the Pettre compound, Myrwen smiled and closed another pod of Gerye’s developmental curriculum. Ell transmitted the message: “Thank you, Arnhi and Gerye. Come to me soon. I love you both.”
Written by Carolyn Melander Osborne
“Raul! Tus zapatos?” Mama looks worried. My shoes were almost new when we got them. They cost so much that she had to sew and embroider after work, late into the night, every day for ten days just to pay for them. Mama sews traditional huipiles, embroidered with roses, for the tourists. To them, it’s another pretty shirt: to us, it’s part of our history. A lot went into buying these shoes; I never forget about them.
“Mama, they have sand on them: I set them by the door. Paco and I walked by the lagoon after school. Look! Una turista gave us each 10 pesos to take our picture by the herons’ nests.” It feels good to hand her the coin. Mama always works but still we’re poor, like everyone else here. I’m ten and I’m not big. I can’t earn much to help her, yet.
But the sand on my shoes is sort of a lie. I did not wear them to walk by the lagoon. I walk barefoot almost all day, but Mama doesn’t know it. Her brother died when he was young. He stepped on a nail and got sick. She doesn’t like bare feet: she says shoes protect us from evil. How can it be evil, though, to feel warm sand between my toes with cool lagoon water beneath? I don’t understand this.
Mama says we’re blessed: she has regular work to do cleaning at the Spa; we’re in a dry room and we have food. Both the Virgin and the Feathered Serpent watch out for us, she says, as she lights the candles in our shrine. But, I know her eyes are sore and tired, and her hands hurt. I want to leave school, get a job and become a man. I’m small, but I’m strong. Maybe if I stay small and light, and am lucky, in a few years I can become a volador, costumed in feathers and paint, swinging upside down, to the ground from a tall pole. This pleases the gods, and the tourists, and would make some money. But that’s later. For now, I run errands when I can.
Our room smells so good from the spices, tomatoes, and peppers in Mama’s stew. We eat and say our prayers. I do my studies and go to bed while she sews. I know she’s tired, but Mama looks solid and strong and beautiful in the lamplight. I know that someday I will help her….
“Raul! Wake up!”
I roll over. “Paco. . . leave me alone. I need to sleep.”
Paco starts shaking me again. “Juan’s back from work and it’s his turn to use the bed. Get up!”
So I get up, shaking the happy dreams out of my head. “Paco, I dreamed of home: it was so beautiful. Do you remember how short I was five years ago?”
Paco snorted: “You weren’t short: you were invisible! Hey, we don’t have to go out to the fields until seven. Let’s walk on the shore.”
The shore is damp and the morning is gray. Endless New Jersey farmland is waiting for us today, but it feels good to walk on sand again. I am blessed: I’m 15, strong and not injured; I have work and can send money to Mama; and I’m here with Paco, my friend, safely away from the gangs of Veracruz.
We’re blessed that we made our difficult crossing to America safely and that we got here at all, and that we haven’t been caught and sent back. But, I understand now why sometimes I must buy a candle and light it and why I must pray. I always pray. Here in the North, besides praying, I always wear mis zapatos, my shoes, even when I’m walking on the sand. Maybe they will keep me safe, and get me home someday, as a man.