#PoetryMonth – @lynniespalmtree Emotional Connection with a Frost Poem

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Kristalyn Thornock is today’s guest. I could probably go on and on about how her post is the type of post I’d like to see from everyone, especially for Poetry Month. But I won’t go on too long. I want the piece to speak for itself because it does so in a much better way than I can.

Basically, poetry can touch us lightly or deeply. It can hit us when we are looking for it or blindside us. We all experience poetry in varying degrees, but it’s when we get a big slap in the face by poetry that it sticks the most. A poem by Robert Frost did that to Kristalyn once. Here’s more about that. And if anyone has a similar experience with poetry, please share it in the comments.

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It’s interesting to me how certain things, people, experiences, music, something that is said or we may read, come into our lives at certain times.  Some can bring you comfort.  Some memories.  Some may help you heal.  This poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, is a work that came into my life at one of the most difficult times, but has brought continual feelings of comfort and healing in so many ways.

I heard this poem for the first time three and a half years ago at my mother’s funeral.  We lost her early to Melanoma, and I still wonder sometimes how I will finish my life without having her wisdom and advice to help guide me.  My uncle read this poem, and I remember before he did, he said as he was preparing his remarks for that day, it just kept coming to him that he needed to share it.  I thought it was a beautiful poem but in particular the final words “And miles to go before I sleep.” kept ringing in my head afterward.

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A week or two passed and I called to ask what the name of the poem was because that last line had stayed with me in such a way I needed to read whole thing again. I looked it up and read it over countless times. I thought about the words and how they could mean different things to different people. This poem could be dissected in so many ways, and I’m sure it has been, but I didn’t need to dissect them, I just needed to hear them.  They helped to bring me comfort in such a way than I ever thought a simple poem could.

No matter your religious affiliation, or whether you believe in an afterlife or not, I think most of us feel like we “go somewhere” after we die.  Heaven.  Hell.  Somewhere in between.  Who really knows? But the words “Miles to go before I sleep” gave me an added comfort in addition to my religious beliefs that my mom is somewhere.  She was doing something.  She still has things to do. Even though her body was laid to rest here, she, as a spirit was somewhere else, helping, loving, teaching, doing.

In the process of grieving and trying to find some comfort from this loss, and while still thinking frequently of these words Robert Frost had written, I decided to embroider the poem for a small quilt so I could hang it on my wall. I wanted to have it somewhere to look at frequently as it had essentially become a part of me in a way. I knew this was a project that would span many hours, which it did, but in the end it was well worth it. I got to spend time with these words, thinking about them as I worked. There were thoughts of love for the poem, and for my mother, given with each stitch.  

I now have this quilt hanging in my home at the top of the stairs so I see it several times a day. I don’t always stop to read it in its entirety, but it’s there, and I will read a line or two as I walk by on occasion.  It picks me up. It makes me smile.  It helps me remember my mom.

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If you have trouble reading the poem, please click on the image to enlarge it. You can also read the poem in text by clicking HERE.
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About the Author:

You can find Kristalyn over on her blog The Sarcastic Palmtree where she blogs about what she reads, wants to read, and many great authors. You can also find some other fun posts about TV shows and music.

Kristalyn is also mother to Ainsley Thornock, who you may remember from Story Time Friday with her story Me and Albert Einstein and Music Makes Me Who I Am.

Find out more:

Story Time Friday, with #poet @LilyLuchesi

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Purgatory

by Lily Luchesi

Wake up
You’re dead
What do you do now?
Caught between
The angel on your shoulder
And the demon at your back
Where do you run to?
Who do you have to turn to?
Are you all alone?

You lived your life for everyone else
(Your father. Your brother. Your mother.)
Will you get it back in death?
Your guardian angel can’t save you now
No, you’re too far gone
Will you miss him when he turns away,
Or will you not care even if he stays?

What does the future hold for you,
Endless nights of pain?
Limitless, endless
Darkness that goes on and on
Are you lost or right at home, my dear?
I always thought that you were the hero of this story
The winner in this deadly game

You’ve got a light that shines through
The darkness inside of you
Grasp that
Hold onto it
Before it’s ripped away
Shine your light through the darkness
Forced upon you
Let your angel in
Let your light back in

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If you’ve like to read more of Lily’s work, you can find

Aftermath, a poem, in The Struggle Anthology

Amazon | B&N (print only)

and

Or grab her debut novel, Stake-Out from

Amazon

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About the Author:

Lily Luchesi is an aspiring, young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-lover, and will always associate vampires with love, blood and rock and roll. Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and now, at twenty-one, has two contributing credits in anthologies (listed below) and her debut novel, “Stake-Out”, was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19, 2015.

Find out more:

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

Story Time Friday – Depressing #FlashFiction

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I’ve been posting mainly poetry these last few weeks. Oops. It IS called STORY Time Friday, is it not? Well, I’ll keep this short for you. I have a new piece of flash fiction to share. It’s not a happy one. It’s not a great one. But it’s an idea I had for an end of the world with no hope kind of thing that I’ll revisit at some point. But at least I got some ideas on paper for now.

Don’t get too depressed reading it 😉

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Alone

 by Robert Zimmermann

I’ve been alone in this tower for a few years now.

The last time I saw another person, alive, it was my parents. Both of them. I still remember the look on each of their faces. The pleading in their eyes. I couldn’t take their lives, though, no matter how much it hurt to watch them suffer as they did. There are many ways to die. They chose to chance starving in order to give me the bigger share of our scavenged meals.

Fortunately, they died quietly enough, in a sleep brought on by weakness. As peaceful as this world can allow, at least.
That’s why I’m along up here, in this tower that reaches into the clouds over. I can gaze in whichever direction I want to, out at a grid of smaller buildings, then beyond that water and more buildings. I still have a hard time believing the tales my parents told me about this place.

I know we weren’t the only, but I think they were exaggerating. Probably wanting to make the world seem like it was more exciting. The world Before. There can’t have been millions of people on this island. There’s no way. Where did they all go? How could there have been even more than that in the world? No, I can’t believe all of those bedtime stories.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll last here, either. My parents seemed to have done well enough for themselves, and me when I was born. It’s too dangerous to hunt and scavenge at surface level. I’ve had many close calls with beasts just as hungry as I am. I don’t think I could chance another close call.

Maybe I should see if there’s anything left in the garden. We could barely grow a thing up here. There’s too little rain and too much wind. A few things grew if we did it just right. Some of it edible. Some of it what my father called “a backup plan”.

I don’t know what kind of plant it is, but it’s what my parents tried getting me to feed them when they were dying. My father told me that it would be a quick death for anyone who ate it. Painful, but quick. Still, it’s not a task you ask a child to partake in. If it’d have been now, years later, it might be a different story I’m telling. A story where I tell you how I killed both of my parents, a mercy killing.

I know I’m going to die soon. I’m not sure when, though. Starvation is a tricky thing when the body is used to being depraved all of its life.

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It’s days later now. I haven’t had anything to eat, still. I don’t think I have much longer in this world and I’ve come to peace with that. This isn’t a world to do anything more than survive in.

I’ve also tossed all of the “backup plan” plants out of the tower. If my parents weren’t allowed the luxury to choose their death dates. I denied them that. I’m denying it for myself now.

I’m going to sit here, staring out at the vast expanse of skyline, empty for as far as the eye can see, alone. Maybe I’ll see my parents again soon, if that bedtime story turns out to be true, at least. Still not to sure about all the things they told me when I was younger.

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): miztrebor88@gmail.com. Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

#NewRelease: Girl at War, by @NovicSara

You may have seen my review of Girl at War recently on the blog. It’s a book that blew me away and it’ll stick with me for some time. I’m happy to announce that now everyone can read the book, as it’s been released.

Below you’ll find more about Sara Nović’s debut novel, which I hope is the first of many from this author.

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Girl at War

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Zagreb, summer of 1991. Ten-year-old Ana Juric is a carefree tomboy who runs the streets of Croatia’s capital with her best friend, Luka, takes care of her baby sister, Rahela, and idolizes her father. But as civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, soccer games and school lessons are supplanted by sniper fire and air raid drills. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Ana is lost to a world of guerilla warfare and child soldiers; a daring escape plan to America becomes her only chance for survival.

Ten years later Ana is a college student in New York. She’s been hiding her past from her boyfriend, her friends, and most especially herself. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, she returns alone to Croatia, where she must rediscover the place that was once her home and search for the ghosts of those she’s lost. With generosity, intelligence, and sheer storytelling talent, Sara Nović’s first novel confronts the enduring impact of war, and the enduring bonds of country and friendship.

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Would you like to grab a copy of Sara Nović’s debut? You can find it from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Sara was born in 1987 and has lived in the United States and Croatia. She recently graduated from the MFA program at Columbia University, where she studied fiction and literary translation. She is the fiction editor at Blunderbuss Magazine and teaches writing at Columbia University and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She lives in Queens.

Find out more:

#Review – Some Scary Stories

Here are a few reviews of some short scary stories I read for Halloween. They’re also all currently free (at least at the time I posted this) if you’d like to check them out for yourself.

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The End of the WorldTitle: The End of the World
Author: A.A. McGowan
Rating: 4/5 stars

“It’s autumn and the leaves aren’t the only thing changing. Chuck gathers his thoughts as the end of the world comes to meet him.” (description from Goodreads)

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The End of the World is a quick story of just over 1k words. This doesn’t allow for much world building, but McGowan was able to develop Chuck, his main character, well and get a feel for the way the world is for Chuck.

There’s something going around killing everyone. Chuck calls them Jackals. Not sure exactly where they came from, but they seem vicious and unstoppable. The impending doom Chuck feels made for a great story, even though it telegraphed the ultimate outcome.

As always for me, when there’s little of the “bigger picture”, I’m left wanting that part of the story. But this didn’t take away from my enjoyment. It just adds to my curiosity for more from this author in the same world he introduces in this story.

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You can grab this story from:

Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N

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Looking the Other WayTitle: Looking the Other Way
Author: Matthew Keville
Rating: 5/5 stars

“Every time you go down into the New York subway, you take a chance that you won’t come out again. That’s just the way it is. Usually, the only thing to fear is your fellow passengers. But there are other things waiting down there in the dark below the City, and sometimes the only way to stay alive is to look the other way.” (description from Goodreads)

Line batThis story was great. It had two levels to the eeriness that really made it stand out for me. The author built up a great mood from the beginning, then throws a curveball once the reader’s in the subway with the main character. That alone gave the story a great horror factor. What added to that was the nonchalance of the other people on the subway platform with the main character, and the attitude that comes over the MC at the end of the story. It could make you wonder just how fictional a story like this could be, and what else is out there.

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You can grab this story from:

Smashwords

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FacelessTitle: Faceless
Author: Crystal Coons
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Maria, Larry, and Joey go into Maria’s grandmother’s attic in search of a recipe book. While searching, Larry finds an old Venetian mask and puts it on. After being scolded by Maria and Joey, Larry is the first to discover the secret of the mask, and this secret changes all of their lives.” (description from Goodreads)

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For such a short story, the author packed in a heavy punch. There’s no time wasted to terrify the reader with what this mysterious mask has in store for these teenagers. I’d have liked a little more of a lead-up, if only to understand the mask and how the grandmother obtained it (and why she’d have such a dangerous object), but aside from that I think this was a great read. It’s a very strong flash piece.

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You can grab this story from:

Smashwords | B&N