Member Monday: Soul Storm by Tim Hemeon

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s my pleasure to welcome my friend and colleague Tim Hemeon.  Tim is a writer, musician and teacher.  Here’s an excerpt from his first novel, Soul Storm.  Soul Storm can be purchased online and at several local bookstores including All About Books.

Soul Storm

By Tim Hemeon

Rex and Ken retrieved the Excursion while Sheldon rested.  Carol was thrilled to visit with another woman who was opinionated, feminine, and most of all not brainwashed.

Together they packed food and water to add to their supplies. Sally insisted on giving them a Bible, a version called The Message.  She said it was full of contemporary language.

“Readin’ a Bible with speech patterns from Shakespeare’s time is just plain stupid,” said Sally. “Wasn’t that the appeal of Jesus anyway?”

“I guess,” said Carol. The last thing she needed right now was a religious lecture, but she tried to be polite.

“I mean, he didn’t stay up on high and speak down to us. He became a common person – a laborer. Talked to people in a way they understood. I think about that sometimes. You know that phrase, ‘What would Jesus do?’ Well, I think he’d read a Message Bible.”

Carol burst out with a giggle. “Jesus reading a Bible – somehow that strikes me funny.”

“I know what you mean. It is odd to think about. But that’s my whole point. I doubt he’d fit into our God-box. I think he’d show up to church wearing old Levis with holes in the knees, a flannel shirt, and maybe a beanie. He’d be full of piercings and tats. And then he’d laugh out loud at the idea of eating a wafer the size of a Tic-Tac and a thimbleful of grape juice and calling it a meal of communion.”

Carol tried to picture that and she could see the logic to it.

Sally continued, “I bet he’d show up to church with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and start passing it around along with cans of Cokes. And the bucket would never empty. People would be getting chicken grease all over their polyester blouses and suits, kids would be guzzling sodas and burping the ABC’s, and everyone would be laughing. Then of course the minister would throw him out for causing a disturbance.”

Carol had never thought of such a thing, and it struck her that she’d seen God in stereotype all of her life. He was just a cliché to her.

“He’d be too much for the establishment to accept. But I bet if he showed up to a poor church somewhere they’d chow down with him and give thanks. Just like when he walked the earth, it was the down-and-outers who related to him. Anyway, that’s why I like this Bible. It makes sense – so I want you to have it.”

“Thanks,” said Carol. Maybe she’d try reading it sometime; couldn’t hurt.

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.

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Member Monday: Le Bon Hiver by Rudi Yniguez

Welcome back to Member Monday.  In case you missed it in our May newsletter, it’s my delight to introduce you to the second recipient of the Writers Forum Scholarship.    Rudi Yniguez is a recent graduate of Shasta High School.  Please be sure to take a moment to leave a comment or two for this up and coming writer after reading the winning piece.

Le Bon Hiver

By Rudi Yniguez

Adam locked himself in his father’s cabin for seven months because that was the  only thing that made sense. It was a dense winter, a long thick couple of months that seeped under doors and through cracks in the windowsills, but he never seemed to mind. He’d come to make music. Armed with a guitar and keyboard he fought the silence with notes and words. He battled his inner demons because he was too scared to face the world around him. That’s what Emma said. That he was using the music to hide behind, to escape from a normal life. I assume she was right, but never asked.

Each Wednesday I set out across the snowy wasteland to bring him food and supplies. As far as I know this was the only human contact he had that year, if you can call it that. He never spoke, seemed anxious to return to his hermit’s cave and forget that he depended on us, on me. Wisconsin made it easy to forget. The frozen lake outside his window was the only thing visible for miles except white expanses of nothing. Sometimes, walking to his cabin even, I forgot that I wasn’t alone in this world. I imagined my knocks would seem futile on the cracked wooden door, a plea for company that would go unanswered because there was no one to answer it, until his padded footsteps crescendoed towards me and a ink-splotched hand extended itself towards my basket. He hesitated to open the door enough to let me see past his skeletal frame and unkempt beard into the room behind him. I imagined it was messy, him not allowing Emma to tidy up as she was being paid to do, but I never made an attempt to prove this. Old age had gleaned any curiosity I had left from my bones, and left me content to simply be, and allow others to do the same. If only it had done the same for Emma.

“There’s something wrong with that boy, not wanting a tidy room and clean sheets to live in. ” she said one night as we slipped beneath our faded quilt.

“Maybe he just wants his privacy.” I said, knowing that it she was right, but still feeling the need to protect him.

“To do what? He’s writing songs, not saving the world.”

“Maybe they’re the same thing.” I turned out the lights.

One day I arrived to find him on the porch, smoking a cigarette. He looked so out of place outside of the cabin, and yet so much more comfortable. He protected the cigarette with calloused hands stained blue, red, and green.

“A project I’m working on,” He said when he saw me looking.

“Ah. How’s it coming along?”

“It’s coming. At least it’s coming.”

I followed the gaze of his Sinatra blue eyes to the frozen lake. They hadn’t left its hazy surface since I’d arrived, seemingly entranced with its quiet mystery, its expanse of cloudy blue.

“Do you think the fish know they’re trapped under there?” He asked.

“You mean by the ice? I suppose they know it’s there, but what difference would it make? They wouldn’t go up to the surface either way.”

“They probably wish they could, now that they know they can’t. I bet its awful down there, that they all feel like prisoners, waiting for it to thaw.”

“Maybe. I guess we’ll never know.”

The cigarette fell from his hands and he crushed the sparks with the heel of his boot. Taking the basket from me, he turned and walked inside, humming a melody that reminded me of a Celtic hymnal with all the religion missing.

The next week I returned, carrying a basket of salami, bread, cheese, and apples, the only things he ever requested. My knock resounded empty on the door, left for the first time unanswered. I waited patiently for a couple minutes, feeling the cold festering in my worn boots and the wind wearing on my exposed face. I thought about leaving the basket on the stoop, then realized that its contents would freeze in these conditions. The door wielded to my fingertips, as if yearning to be opened and yet having been too shy to ask in the past. The quiet dark of the one room cabin was a relief from the blinding white outside. Everything looked clean and normal until I turned on the lights. It was then that I noticed the walls. Every surface in the cabin had been painted on, written on, glorified. Murals of angels, demons, gardens, and skies, quotes in calligraphy, and what could have been entire symphonies filled every once open space with vibrant color and music. Ceiling, walls, and floor were not spared. I couldn’t decide if it was genius or insanity, but the beauty of the spectacle stopped me from passing judgment. I stood in awe for what must have been ten minutes before realizing that Adam wasn’t there. As I set down the basket on the table, his note made itself apparent. “Check the Lake.”

Some say he did it to escape his father’s disappointment. Others said he must have slipped along the icy banks. I don’t know who to believe, and I’m not sure I have to believe anyone. It took them three days to find his frozen body, the ice groaning protests beneath the bow of the search boats as they scanned the floor with nets. It took his father two more days to hear the news and arrive to collect his belongings.

“Who found him missing?”

“I did, sir.”

“Has the cabin been thoroughly cleaned?”

“Emma washed the sheets and windows before you came, but we tried to leave
things as they were …. ”

“I’d like to see it now.”

Initially he refused to walk, complaining of asthma until I told him there was no other way there in this weather. There was no sound except the crunching of our boots and his heavy breathing. I let him walk in first, out of respect, and hesitated to follow, not wanting his presence to alter my feelings about the cabin. He scanned the room quickly, I assumed taking in the murals and notes, the final remnants of his only son. Finally he turned to me, a look of impassiveness and loathing streaking his features.

“Throw out his belongings and paint the walls. I’ll be expecting visitors in April, and they cannot see it like this.”

It took me three days to gather the courage to do as he asked. Emma came with me; opened the windows and door to rid it of the musty smell pervading and of any trace left of the musician. She stood next to me as she took in the paradise he had created within these walls, the beauty he had summoned to scare away the darkness. Squeezing my hand, she walked towards the bed and began emptying the drawers. I turned towards the first wall, dipped my brush into the white lacquer, and began to paint.

 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: Nineteen On My Own by Triet Dinh Nguyen

In case you missed their pieces in our May newsletter, for the next two Mondays it’s my delight to introduce you to the two recipients of the Writers Forum Scholarship.    Our first scholarship recipient, Triet Dinh Nguyen, moved from Vietnam to the United States one year ago and is a recent graduate of Enterprise High School.  

Here’s what Triet’s teacher, Trent Copland, says about him: “He is a very, very deserving young student with a promising future made all the more so with the support of organizations such as the Writer’s Forum.”  Please be sure to take a moment to leave a comment or two for this up and coming writer after reading his poem.

Nineteen On My Own

By Triet Dinh Nguyen

At the age of nineteen l’m on my own
I must know where I’m going

If I plant good seed at nineteen
Success is what I’m sowing

At the age of nineteen I’m on my own

I have to be responsible for my show
Making good choices determines my fortune
Trading off decisions has to be soon

There is no such a thing as free lunch
Working must be a requirement
Salary for tuition fee and gasoline
Salary supports myself to make a scene

Although with lots of concerns
Don’t forget to be happy
Making friends, having parties
But always keep myself out of burn

Nineteen, the age of dynamic, the age of creativity
If I keep my head stay on still

If I keep my will firm as steel
Success in future myself will be.

 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: All About Books by Richard Lucas

Welcome  back to Member Monday.  Today it’s my pleasure to share a piece by Richard Lucas on how he and his lovely wife, Abby, came to be the unlikely owners of All About Books.

All About Books

By Richard Lucas

It wasn’t a lifelong dream, even though two generations of Lucas’ had all ready done it. My grandfather started Lucas Books in Berkeley. It wasn’t even a short-term plan. We both had jobs. It just sort of fell into our laps. In 2001, we found an ad about a bookstore for sale. My wife, Abby, was ready to do something new, I was completing my latest novel, so we checked it out. It was obvious that the current owners had had enough and they agreed to a good price and we decided, what the heck.

That was eleven years ago and we are still at it. I have joined Abby in running the store full-time and have since completed three more novels. We survived the economic downturn in 2008, barely. People started coming back to books for entertainment.  E-books became popular and cut into the business, but soon people found that not everything was available and used bookstores to fill in the gaps. The entire shopping center on Lake Blvd where we were located was suffering so we decided it was time for a change.

In February of this year we opened our new location on Court St in downtown Redding. Focusing on the revitalization of the area, we have joined forces with the Shasta Art Council for the Second Saturday Art Night. Dozens of businesses stay open late one night a month to promote local art, music, theater and for us, authors. Each event we featuring local authors for book signings. We have established a Local Author section, prominently displayed near the front of the store.  As a local author, I realize how hard it is to get any kind of exposure for your books. We hope that our efforts will bear fruit and allow everyone access to a larger audience. Stop by and see what we are doing and join us each Second Saturday night.  For more information on Second Saturday Art Night, please visit the Writers Forum Calendar of Events Page.

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.


The Spontaneous Pen: June, 2012

Writers Forum member and former newsletter editor, Jennifer Phelps, is back with this month’s Spontaneous Pen.  

One jump line.  Ninety seconds to write.  Go!

This month’s jump line is:

Hope is…

Take 90 seconds to finish the jump line and then post your response in the comments section.  All online comments will be posted here.  Due to limited space only, selected responses will be published in next month’s newsletter.

A Message From the President: June 2012

I am so pleased with the Scholarship Committee’s choices for recipients of our two $500 awards. I had the opportunity to sit in on their process of selecting winners. I was present as an active participating observer (my words). And their final choices were fantastic. Rudi Yniguez is graduating from Shasta High, and Triet Dinh Nguyen from Enterprise.

I had the opportunity to speak to each of their English instructors. There was pride in their voices, and in their follow-on emails I could sense that it was not a momentary swelling of gladness. Triet’s teach is Trent Copland who has spent twenty-five years teaching English as a Second Language to refugees with up to one hundred spread out through five classes. These days he only has one class of five. To have one of those five win a scholarship…well, like I typed, “…it was not a momentary swelling…” Rudi has Shane Kikut as her instructor, and was he was similarly grateful.

You can read their submissions in the May newsletter or later this month as special Member Monday postings.

Meanwhile, I have been finding it tough to find my muse for writing. I really had to be kicked in the ass to get this out. I have recently been re-visiting 3 Word Wednesday where each week three words are posted, and peeps are encouraged to use them as prompts. Ranging from short stories to poems, my favorite challenge is to compose a single sentence that makes sense. Run by my buddy Thom G (who has carried it from Redding, to NYC, and now to Buffalo, Wyoming), it has a world-wide following.

There are other kick-in-the-butts too. One is Write On! Online that “brings community to writers throughout the world.” They have articles, reports, newsletters, and monthly goals that you set and report on progress. They also have a presence on Face Book (who doesn’t these days?).

What is your favorite online site for writing? Let me, er, us know, by leaving a comment.

Until then, I will keep turning over the stones looking for my muse.

Larry Watters,

Writers Forum President