Member Monday: Blind Billy Bongos, Sleepy Jim and Larry Two Shoes by Laura Hernandez

Welcome  back to Member Monday.  Today it’s my pleasure to share a piece by my friend and fellow Director at Large, Laura Hernandez.

Blind Billy Bongos, Sleepy Jimmy, and Larry Two Shoes
By Laura Hernandez

Walking past the Courthouse, on my way back to the Public Defenders’ Office, whipping my yo-yo up and down real fast ‘cause I was pissed that the preliminary hearing transcript that I ordered from the court clerk still wasn’t ready for me to take, I passed Blind Billy Bongos. He wasn’t really blind. The cops call him that because he talks to himself and plays invisible bongos in the air, “blind” to what it looks like, hands floating side to side, slapping one lid then another, back and forth; while he stands, struts or walks around town. I know it doesn’t make sense, but the name has a ring to it, Billy seems to like it, and it fits. Blind Billy would say “hi” to you, if you said “hi” to him, but it wouldn’t necessarily stop him from talking to himself, nor would it stop his bongo playing. I said, “Hi, Blind Billy!” and he said, “Hi Miss Laura!” and slapped the air about four feet from the ground on the left, then the right, before I got all the way past him. “Nice day for yo-yo-ing! Have you learned to ‘walk the dog’ yet?”

“No, Blind Billy, not yet!” It wasn’t quite true. I could do the yo-yo trick a little bit, but I was inconsistent, so the trick wasn’t ready “for the street” just yet. It involves throwing the yo straight out, low to the ground, letting it zing for a second, and snapping it back with an under and back snap to the wrist at the same time you pull you whole arm back to your side. You also need to bend at the waist to do this, and usually I had a sheaf of papers in one arm, so this trick wasn’t always graceful for me. I can’t juggle yet, either, but I’m trying.

Sleepy Jimmy was crossing the street in front of me, and called me over to show me something. I try real hard to be nice to the Guys in the Street because you never know when they might have some information about missing witnesses or something you might need. It’s not that I would send them on some “intelligence mission,” but My Boss might be real interested in the information and could send a real investigator to do the info gathering. Sleepy Jimmy always had his eyes at half-mast, kinda like he was about to go to sleep at any minute.He talked slow enough to make you think he was about to drop off any second, too. Today he showed me he had found a baby bird that had fallen from someplace, but seemed to be alright. I looked into Jimmy’s cupped hands and smiled at the tiny, brown, feathered, fluff ball that wasn’t even struggling to get away. The little thing just looked snuggled into a new kind of nest. It seemed happy to be there, and Jimmy was happy to have it. “That’s real nice, Jimmy! What you gonna feed it?”

“I dunno. I was thinking of some hamburger but I don’t got some.”

“Why don’t you go to the Law Dogs hot dog stand and see if they’ve got somethin’ to give ya?”

“Thas’ a good idea, Miss Laura! I gotta get over there, then! See ya!”

I think it’s funny that all the Street Guys seemed to call me “Miss Laura” just cause they heard one of my bosses, a southern guy, call me that once on the street in front of a couple of cops we were chatting with one day. They passed the name on, I guess. Most of the lawyers I worked with weren’t southern. In fact, that guy was the only one. I guess the Street Guys wanted to call me something “respectful” but not stuffy, so I got the “Miss” with the First-Name-Casual. Considering the names I coulda been called, this is not bad at all.

As I crossed Main Street onto Market, I waved to Larry Two Shoes who was on the next block. I always liked Larry Two Shoes, ever since he picked me up from an almost fall on the sidewalk one cold day. I was running in my high heels over another cobblestoned street downtown when I hit a broken, sticking-up stone and started to go down. Larry Two Shoes had just turned the corner behind me with his cart and ran to scoop me up just before I could hit the hard street. He was surprisingly strong for a Street Guy who didn’t eat often. He had one arm around me and the other outstretched to balance us both, like a teetering dancer. He straightened us in one swoop and settled me on the ground upright, smiling like he had just shagged an easy fly ball. “God, thanks, man!”

“No problem, Miss Laura! Glad I was here!” I clutched my papers tighter with one hand while sticking out my right to shake. He pulled back his own hand, “Oh, no, Miss Laura, I’m too dirty for you!”

“Well, we’ve never been introduced, but you know my name, so it’s only fair you tell me yours!” I said.

“It’s Larry Two Shoes, Miss Laura!”

“Why Two Shoes?” I asked.

“Well look,” he said reaching back to grab his shopping cart full of his household things. Tied by their grimy laces to the handle bars like Footlocker’s fuzzy dice were two old, cruddy tennis shoes, his “spares.”

“Oh, well that’s handy!” What else? “It was nice to meet you, and thank you for catching me, Larry Two Shoes!” I called over my shoulder as I heel-click hurried back to the office.

“My pleasure, Miss Laura!” he called back, bowing slightly. I didn’t know it yet, but one day Larry Two Shoes would show up on the street outta nowhere to save my bacon again.

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.

Writers’ Desk Project

Attention writers!

Our friends across the pond at The Flaneur, an arts and culture journal, have asked Writers Forum members to participate in The Writers’ Desks Project.  What is the Writers’ Desks Project?  It’s a project to collect images of writers’ desks from around the world.  All submissions will be considered for the Writers’ Desks Project book and ebook.  Some will be published online, along with a link to the author’s website.

What does your desk say about you?   Are you tidy?  Are there piles of research everywhere?  Do you type on a computer or write long hand?  Are there empty coffee cups and plates amongst the notebooks and pens?  Or is there just one sheet of paper and a dictionary?  However you use your desk and whatever it looks like we want to hear from you.  Whether you are famous or just starting out, a poet or novelist, journalist or critic The Flaneur is interested in the place you work.

To join the project, please upload an image of your desk to The Flaneur.  To contact The Flaneur, click here.

April Writers Forum & Second Saturday Art Night Photos

The second Saturday of each month is a great day for writers in the North State.  Every second Saturday we have our Writers Forum monthly meeting and then local authors conduct book signings at All About Books.  It’s a great time to be a writer in the North State!

Kate Bourland educated Writers Forum on the ins and outs of blogging.

Writers Forum members furiously scribbled notes while dreaming big about our the possibility of own blogs.

Later that night Redding residents came out for Second Saturday Art Night to visit local authors at All About Books.

Author and Writers Forum member Edna Eades featured autographed copies of her book.

Author and All About Books owner, Richard Lucas featured his books and those of many other local authors.

If you’re a writer and would like to be a featured author during the Second Saturday Art Night, please contact Richard Lucas at All About Books.

See you soon at our May Writers Forum meeting!

Member Monday: Big Girl Shoes by Marisa Shadrick

Welcome  back to Member Monday.  Today it’s my pleasure to share a piece from Marisa Shadrick.

Author’s Note:  Marisa is a Christian freelance writer with articles appearing in local, online and international publications.  Born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles, Marisa understands the challenges women face in the workforce, nurturing a family and finding personal fulfillment. Women often find their identity in what they do; it can backfire and lead to illness, depression and even bitterness. Through her writing and public speaking, Marisa encourages women to find their true identity in God.

Big Girl Shoes

by Marisa Shadrick

Now and then, God leads us beyond our emotional limits. It’s like wearing oversized shoes with four-inch heels. Instead of moving forward, we worry about falling and playing the fool.  We become self-conscience, uncomfortable and sometimes it’s painful. We feel vulnerable.

Obedience makes us feel vulnerable. Godly choices are often unpopular, because it puts us in a place of weakness. But, as we step out-of-the-way, God’s strength and power flows.  Then, He occupies His rightful place to reign without our interference.

Weakness means we are dependent on God. Whatever the result, we can trust His sovereign, perfect will. Later, we can give Him glory when we realize that our shoes were a perfect fit.

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me (New American Standard Bible, 2nd Cor. 12:9).

Have a blessed week.

Marisa

Works Cited

New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.

3 Word Wednesday

Need a little mid-week writing jolt? Consider joining former Record Searchlight Outdoor Editor, Thom Gabrukiewicz , at 3 Word Wednesday.

Here’s a little more about 3 Word Wednesday:

“Three Word Wednesday gives writers, poets and those who journal a mid-week jolt of creativity. Each week, three words are selected; you create something with the words. Then come back and post a link to your contribution. The idea is to create an online writers’ collective, where feedback is offered and received.  All rights to the contributions rest with the author. This is a place to stretch your muse, test your dreams.”

Happy writing!

Member Monday: The Thing About Dragonflies by Alicia McCauley

Welcome  back to Member Monday.  Today it’s my pleasure to share a piece of my own.

Author’s Note:  Every spring I raise dragonflies in my classroom.  It’s a magnificent process to observe as these water creatures take flight and become acrobats of the air.  Just this last week, the dragonfly nymphs arrived in my classroom and so it feels appropriate to start off dragonfly season by sharing this piece with you.  One particular year, raising dragonflies came at a difficult time in my life and the growth of the dragonflies mirrored my own struggles.  As dragonflies begin to take flight this spring maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a little bit of yourself in them as well.

The Thing About Dragonflies
By Alicia McCauley

My favorite insect is the dragonfly.  Yes, they’re beautiful, but that’s not why I love them.  Adult dragonflies hunt by holding their legs together like a basket and scooping insects right out of the sky, but that’s not why I love them either.  Sure they’re the only insect that can fly backwards and while that’s amazing, that’s not why they have garnered my affection.

The thing about dragonflies is that they start out as nymphs.  Ugly, brown nymphs with grumpy faces.  They scoot around in the water and muck, shooting out their masks, catching unfortunate prey.  They spend months, sometimes years, in this stage.  Wallowing in the mire.  Camouflaging, even covering themselves in filth.  To the inattentive eye, it just looks like they’re hanging around being ugly, but what’s really happening is change.  You see, the nymph is busy growing and molting.  It grows and molts, grows and molts, leaving ghost skeletons lingering in the water.

Nymphs mostly molt in the dark of night, so that sometimes the changes go completely unnoticed until one day the nymph crawls out of the water and up a cattail.  It clings to the cattail with hooks on its legs and then a most splendid thing happens.  One last time, the exuvia cracks open and an adult dragonfly flops out of its old self.  It hangs upside down, seeing the world in a whole new way.

The new dragonfly waits.  Waits to fly.  Waits to see the world.  Waits to wheel in the wind.  When blood pulses into the wings, the dragonfly takes off.  At first the flights are clumsy.  The dragonfly bumbles around as if it’s getting acquainted with itself for the first time.  After a few test flights the dragonfly is zipping around, hovering and even jutting in reverse.  The scowl of the nymph is replaced with eager eyes and a jeweled body that shimmers even in the faintest of light.  It’s hard to imagine that the dragonfly feels anything short of joy as it skims the water, reveling in the knowledge that, at long last, it has become what it is meant to be.

At night when sad thoughts creep in and steal the remnants of sleep, I think about the dragonfly.  When I’m covered in sorrow and I can’t escape the muck, I take heart in the fact that growth is happening.  Change is taking place, even in times when I can’t see it.  I have to believe that heartache will someday become an ill-fitting skin that will eventually crack open and give way.  Give way to beauty.  Give way to love.

I think of the nymph and the day it makes the final climb up the cattail.  That must be one scary climb.  In fact the nymph will often fall back into the mud several times while trying to make that climb.  When I feel like all I’m doing is falling, I remember the perseverance of the nymph.I swing my legs over the bed each morning.  I smile at my loved ones.  I breathe in and out.  I tell myself to keep trying.  I know one day strength will break through sorrow, leaving the mire to exist only in my memory.  I wait with anticipation for the day that I’ll soar with wings pulsing with life.

I love dragonflies for their patience.  I love dragonflies for their determination, for their strength.  I love dragonflies because they are tangible proof that ugliness and pain cannot contain the pursuit of joy.

During lonely nights, dragonflies sweep into my mind with their basket legs and scoop away brokenness, leaving room for hope.

And that is the thing I love the most about dragonflies.

That year, while trying out its wings, a new dragonfly found a peculiar place to land, surprising me and the roomful of first graders!

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.

Member Monday: Silent Rejoicing by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday!  It’s my pleasure to share a beautiful piece by author and storyteller, Linda Boyden.  Linda’s celebrating National Poetry Month by writing a poem a day.  This particular poem was inspired by the line ” like flowers silently rejoicing” from Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn”.

Silent Rejoicing

Dandelions explode into yellow.
Bright cheery faces bloom
like the teardrops of the Sun
as she blesses,
caresses the morning.
Gardeners fuss and kill, but still,
countless blossoms
silently rejoice
the presence of spring.

To learn more about Linda Boyden or purchase her books, please visit her website.

Linda showcases her books at the 2011 Author's Fair.

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.