Showing posts from July, 2007

Come Now Desolation

The Salted Orchard Part VII
(Read Part VI here.)

Dawn had come and lit up the Captain’s old world, and what had been born in Cusack’s imagination and first encountered in silvered outlines cast by the clear half-moon and the moon’s shattered lightning on the river became simultaneously more and less alive. Color moved in, and detail, and now came the roofs of houses and then fences and animals behind the fences, still unconscious, or rising clumsily up on four legs as though surprised by and unready for the return of the world.

Bibury disappeared then in the spreading daylight. It became replaced with this hamlet, fine and English and as good as any, but not what it was, and Cusack felt the momentary void between his letting old Bibury go and discovering this new one, fresh and still in the minutes after dawn, and lacking people.

He had slowed his horse to an easy walk upon approaching the hamlet, and this the horse took as its opportunity to communicate its exhaustion. It moved unsteadil…

The Vanishing

I see some still read this journal, and that’s heartening. Thank you. Sorry for the lack of updates (and sorry, Irene, to keep your pretty face plastered as the first image for so long). I was working on finishing up The Salted Orchard until I got hit with some illness—a summer flu or something, I don’t know; I had a fever that caused my sweetheart a good amount of worry, which I am always glad for, because then she can break into her dozens of bottles of tinctures and paper bags of herbs and give me all the care and natural healing that I thought had disappeared after it became awkward for my mother to snuggle me when I was low.

I also had to plan an out-of-town trip to see Arcade Fire and Arctic Monkeys play the Roman arena at NĂ®mes, and then take said trip (oh, the envy I feel fills me up and makes me whole again). On top of all that, I returned to New York last week, and I will be staying through August. I will also visit my sister in California next week, where she will be wed. So…

Great Expectations

There are two distinctly separate generations of children born to my parents. I am part of the first fast-produced triumvirate of Owens children, with my sisters Janice and Karen. We are the originals, bound together by our close birthdays and birth-years, as well as economical and social situations unknown to the future offspring. We were all babies together, and we suffered all the same parenting mistakes, be it severity or laissez-faireism, that were ironed out for the later children.

Our sister, Tammy, squeaked by as The Baby. I was not yet four when she was born, so I could not say she was entirely separate. We were no longer babies, not yet adults. We adopted her as our beloved mascot. We were the Weird Sisters to her MacBeth, older and wiser, but being children, unfit to govern and totally happy to do so. Now Tammy is an eccentric who lives in the mountains an America away.

I was comfortably seven when the first of the next burst came. When Coleen arrived I was already an adult, …

The Uncanny Rider

The Salted Orchard Part VI
(Read Part V here.)

“Pleased with the meal, sir?”
“Very,” Cusack said. “I can’t say how much I needed it.”
“We have your room ready. I’ll take you to it when it pleases you.”
“I’ll go now.”
The innkeeper hesitated. Cusack moved to rise, but before he could, the innkeeper said, “Pardon me, sir. Your horse—you’re riding without a saddle.”

Cusack shifted back into his seat. He should have expected this, and he wished he’d come up with a story for it. He was very tired, and his only intent was to sleep. Otherwise, he’d have been back on the road.

“Stolen from me,” he said. “On the road, yesterday.”
The man was dubious. “Took the saddle? And not the horse?”
“The man had a horse, and not a saddle for it. I suspect he liked his horse. Left me mine. Now I ride without comfort or speed, and I’m weary. I’d be glad to be shown my room.”
The innkeeper paused again. Then, “What did he look like?”
“Friend, under other circumstances, I’d gladly answer your questions, but I have had a …

A Quiet Hour

The Salted Orchard Part V
(Read Part IV here.)

He left the horse standing in the road. It made him wary to do so. He had not treated it especially kindly, and the animal owed no loyalty to him. He was a seaman, come from poverty, and he didn’t know the natural mien of horses. Would it run, or only stand and wait? He would be a few minutes, but the horse could be away in less time than that. In the end, he had no choice but to walk away from it. He stood at the door before entering and regarded the horse in the meager light of the window. Its eye reflected the half-dozen candles within with a shine and liquidness that didn’t exist anywhere in nature but in the eyes of the furious. It was Cusack’s own eye mirrored, and in that moment a contract was struck between them. Exhaustion had sapped them of vigor and anger and both demanded replenishment. They would eat and rest, then hate again.

Cusack pushed open the heavy door and was immediately smacked by all the delights within. Food and beer…

The Beating Of The Good Heart

The Salted Orchard Part IV
(Read Part III here.)

The lady opened the door and was the vision of prettiness. A lovely dress she wore and her brown hair was knotted up behind her. The sun was up to meet her and wash her in its yellow shine, but she was lost in the stranger’s black shadow. She saw him with round blue eyes that for a short minute were without fear or scorn. In a sweet voice, she greeted him and asked him his business.

Whatever the stranger said after that, and whatever he did, couldn’t be figured on, but Cusack knew the depravity of it and he saw the blood and heard the screams and he felt the terror in Fiona Hammond’s good heart.

He pushed forward on the road, in spite of his fatigue, his hunger, a racking cough, and still-damp breeches. What he should have been feeling now was triumph: that he’d escaped his murder, that he was ahead of his enemy. Instead he ran heavy-legged, bone-sogged, always behind. Every leaden stride seemed to put him further behind Winston, whose mean…

The Photo I Print Out Whenever I Go For A Haircut