Writers

Saint Joan

I’ve fallen in love with the work of Joan Didion. Her observations on life, her dealings with grief, with the death of both her husband and her daughter within two years of one another, her belief in the value of introspection, of sorting ones own thoughts, arranging them in a manner that increases their clarity and value, she is endlessly sifting the wheat from the chaff in prose that lilts the mind to thoughtfulness and contemplation. Her sentence structure is enviable at every turn, her words are simultaneously sparse and abundant, simple and complicated, they are the right words.

“I tell you this not as aimless revelation but because I want you to know, as you read me, precisely who I am and where I am and what is on my mind. I want you to understand exactly what you are getting: you are getting a woman who for some time now has felt radically separated from most of the ideas that seem to interest people. You are getting a woman who somewhere along the line misplaced whatever slight faith she ever had in the social contract, in the meliorative principle, in the whole grand pattern of human endeavor. Quite often during the past several years I have felt myself a sleepwalker, moving through the world unconscious of the moment’s high issues, oblivious to its data, alert only to the stuff of bad dreams, the children burning in the locked car in the supermarket parking lot, the bike boys stripping down stolen cars on the captive cripple’s ranch, the freeway sniper who feels “real bad” about picking off the family of five, the hustlers, the insane, the cunning Okie faces that turn up in military investigations, the sullen lurkers in doorways, the lost children, all the ignorant armies jostling in the night. Acquaintances read The New York Times, and try to tell me the news of the world. I listen to call-in shows.” ~ Joan Didion, The White Album ~

And what you must know about the context of this quote is that it is timeless, but that it is very much of a product of the time, the place, and the situations, that Joan Didion was in. What you must know about Joan Didion is that you didn’t know that she was there, ground zero at the center of everything.  What you must know is that Joan Didion shopped for and picked out the dress that Linda Kasabian wore when she testified.

Harrison Ford was her carpenter. She loves The Doors, she knew them in their beginnings, sat on the floor and listened. She has x-ray vision with a gossamer filter on it that renders the intolerable indignities of living into the spun silk of valuable experience through her writing. “The Center Will Not Hold”, directed by Didion’s nephew, actor and director, Griffin Dunne, is a worthwhile watch for any writer. For me, the words of Joan Didion have become a godsend as they have helped me rediscover my own voice.

TS

Cheyenne Madonna, by Eddie Chuculate

Eddie Chuculate’s descriptive prose reads like the view of the most brilliant landscape painting, the words providing a stark portrait in contrasts in some areas while melding into the delicacy required of a watercolor brush in others, whether the scenery be that of an actual landscape, the rolling countryside of Oklahoma, or simply the interior landscape of an adolescent bedroom and the awkward fumbling crudeness of a first “love.” We are introduced to artist, painter, and sculptor, Jordan Coolwater in this way, with all of the tenacity of a tornado while en route to Galveston Bay.

Writing without hesitation, Chuculate fully engages the explosive vernacular of racism in “1979” before sitting Jordan down at his grandparents, Flo and Zeke’s,  kitchen table to drink cheap cherry wine from jelly glasses with his uncle, Johnson L. Freebird, “A Famous Indian Artist.” Jelly jars, not mason jars, jelly jars. Like saving your plastic movie themed cup from the 7-11 or your cartoon character glass from the Taco Bell, drinking from saved jelly jars is something of a particular time. ( However, I did check and they do still make those particular jars though I haven’t seen one in a store out this way in years.) The Welch’s jars were often adorned with Peanuts or Hanna-Barbera characters, others bore flowers and some had even fancier raised designs on the glass. It’s a wonderful example of the small details that are present in each of these stories that make them come alive with familiarity and poignancy. It could be your grandmother’s kitchen table too, especially if they liked to argue over trivialities, the way that some forever couples do at that age, and have a beer now and then.

We learn of Jordan’s drunkard father in “Dear Shorty,”of his Listerine habit, and begin to better understand the roots of Jordan’s own alcoholism. It is here that Chuculate’s ability to create believable characters lets us know that this isn’t a coming of age tale, but the deepening continuing narrative thread of one man’s life, of his at odds-ness with a world that he is completely present in. From escaping incarceration to finding love and the hope of normality with a woman named Lisa Old Bull, as she runs from her own equally difficult situation, we begin to understand the struggle of Jordan Coolwater to either keep up with the spinning of the earth, or find a way to make it stop, to find a place to rest a while from it, the peace of that kitchen table again, long after the people who sat around it with him in his youth are gone.

These are hard stories of uneasy lives, alcoholism, poverty, dysfunction, love, the awkwardness of success as it is carried by one who has seen that it isn’t necessarily all that it’s cracked up to be. Full of heart and heartbreak, with a depth of understanding of the human condition and enough humor to be able to endure it, they are stories drawn from the palette of an intelligent, thoughtful writer about the life of an artist, about the discovery of self through art, and about the hope, and the redemption in, and of, the work.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories.

~ Teri Skultety

Released in 2010, you can get a copy of “Cheyenne Madonna” at Amazon.

“We Create Culture.”

“Create your own roadshow.” ~ Terrence McKenna

Solarcidal Tendencies.

This hasn’t been a bad week.

Out now from the wonderful editors at Solarcide, Martin Garrity and Nathan Pettigrew, SOLARCIDAL TENDENCIES , the best of, so far! This is a unique collection of stories from some of today’s brightest authors on the rise. I am so very pleased to have my story THE LOVE included in this collection.

As I’ve sorted out my way on my journey to “really” doing this “writer becoming a published author this is my life”  thing, through pseudonyms and changes while finding my groove, Solarcide has been there taking chances. For me what that has meant and been is a reminder to write whatever it is that I want to write, something that has ultimately lead to having the confidence to drop the pseudonym, not worry so much, and get after it.

With an introduction by author Richard Thomas and a table of contents fully loaded and ready to rock your socks, this one is really a must have for anyone of discerning literary tastes looking for that particularly delicious flavor of words to satisfy their palette.

Get Yours Today!

And be sure to visit Solarcide, The home of dark and weird fiction, for their latest goings on!
Happy reading!
~ Teri Skultety
( and be sure to check this out too… Terror Train…)

All Aboard! Terror Train!

All aboard for a ride through the pages of “Terror Train.” This anthology from James Ward Kirk Fiction, edited by Krista Clark-Grabowski and A. Henry Keene, is careening down the tracks with enough action packed thrills and chills to keep readers spellbound from start to finish, including the story, “Lonely Train a Comin’ ” by author William F. Nolan!
Inspired by my own experiences growing up in some of the rail towns of the northern San Joaquin Valley and stories from the likes of Agatha Christie, find out what happens when a cheating husband is discovered aboard “The Juliet Express.” I am thrilled to have a story included in this book with so many other terrifying odes to the rails written by some of the most creative authors of horror around today.
Kindle Version available on Amazon now…  TERROR TRAIN. Paperback available here… TERROR TRAIN.
~ Teri Skultety

My Magnificent, Neverending, Love Affair With Words.

Writing…I wanted to say something about writing.

I never worried about it. I picked up a pen, I sat down at the keys. and I wrote. I ate, I slept, I did what I needed to do or what needed doing, and I wrote, until I was done writing.

At thirty-five years old I had written so much that I did not question myself about it, my writing. I knew that I could write and that confidence showed. I knew what I was doing and felt and thought, and believed that I did. Anyone could say whatever they wanted to say about most anything, but I knew that I could write.

It is high praise when one of your peers whom you respect, whose ability you respect, says that you can  write. As much as I might have wanted to hear that at times, the fact was that I didn’t need to be told, I knew that I could.

I hadn’t read volumes on literary style. I hadn’t been taught how to write like anyone else and more importantly, I hadn’t been untaught how to write like me. I learned the basic rules of English and Grammar and not unlike the basic math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, they served me well. I had learned those basic rules of English and composition well enough to feel comfortable enough to begin to sometimes break them. My extensive vocabulary was at my fingertips and ever ready on the tip of my tongue after years of attentiveness to words. I wrote all first drafts long hand. As a result, my own knowledge stayed fresh and present, without having to rely on spell check or Word, for sentence structure or correction.  I rarely misspelled words. My writing was more thorough. My prose more fluid and natural.

A few years ago when I decided to finally pursue my writing as an actual career, I became scared. I started listening to all of the “advice” out there about “how” to do what I was already really good at doing, writing really well and exactly like, me. I became overly concerned with genre and whether or not I was writing in or out of my comfort zone, and this set of rules and that set of rules, what so and so said about this, that, or the other thing. I became worried over writing sex scenes and the use of the f-word, and then any other word. What would whoever think of it? Of me? Was I being too unladylike? Was whatever it was too uptight? Too professional? Too unprofessional? What would my grandmother  have thought of it? Would people get the wrong idea about me? Since when I do care? Well, I don’t, didn’t, really want to deal with it. I’ve been writing business letters since grade school, but now that isn’t good enough either, too formal for the ease of internet and emails. Now do it this way and that way and the other way… Until I became so pent-up and so repressed about it all, so afraid of screwing up, ( according to whose idea of screwing up?)  that the work itself became stifled.

More than once I fell into ( have fallen into) the trap of trying to explain, explain, explain, what it is that I do as a writer. And the difference between what I write and who I am, the fiction of it all verses the reality of me as a person, and so many other things that I have heard other writers talk about too.

All of that nonsense took up a lot of time. I won’t say that I did not learn anything from it, but the bottom line was a wake-up moment that goes something like this… Wait a minute, what am I doing?  I know a how to do this. I know how to write.

And that is the one thing that no writer can ever afford to forget or lose, their unabashed belief in their own ability to write.

So there’s my #1 writer rule, ( these are my rules for me. Your rules should be your own, though certainly I’ve read the thoughts of several other writers on this subject.)

1. Believe in yourself as a writer, i.e., I know can write.

“Doubt whom you will but never yourself.” ~ Christian Nestell Bovee

2. Use everything.
I have forty-five years of vast personal knowledge on a great number of subjects that many, in other fields, would deem trivial but as a writer, is a golden wellspring from which I must never be afraid to draw. Do you know noir? Do you understand horror? Can you be subtle? Can you be bold? Blunt?  You have to use all of it, everything you have, everything you know about pull top beer cans and NASA’s future plans to travel to Mars. Don’t stop yourself from using something because it’s out of a certain genre or you think it is or maybe no one has heard that song in forty years and or you’re worried that people will think you’re old or uncool or out of touch with the present because if that is the song that is playing on the radio everywhere a character goes in the story then it is. You have to use everything and not worry about what other people are going to think of it or make of it or try to make of it, to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, you’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t but if you’re coming from a genuine place of “being yourself” chances are it will work itself out.

What if Quentin Tarantino hadn’t used everything he had for “Pulp Fiction”? Then no Statler Brother’s singing “Flowers on the Wall”, or Dick Dale’s “Misirlou”, that no one had heard or listened to in how long? But it worked because that musical knowledge was natural to him.  ( Not to mention when was the last time that anyone had done The Twist?)

So when they say that something is “dated”, don’t take it too much to heart. Look at whatever it is, sure, but things tend to be cyclical, everything old is new again.

I haven’t used everything in so long now, my chest practically hurts from it, holding myself back as a writer and possibly, as a person. Restraint? Only as part of the knowledge that you have to use everything, including restraint.
One of the best pieces of personal advice that I’ve ever received is, Always keep something for yourself. This is especially important if you’re working in a situation where you “give” a lot to the “public” in some way. People can get to where they think they have a right to you or “everything.” Keep something for you.

Trends come and go, that is what makes them trends.

“- how fortunate are you and i whose home is timelessness, we
who have wandered down from fragrant mountains of eternal now.”  – e.e.cummings

3. “There are only three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.” -W. Somerset Maugham

This is the only information about writing a novel that has ultimately done me any good at all other than if you really believe in the story, these two simple words, DON’T QUIT. In the midst of trying to figure out how to write a novel I’ve written three of them. Don’t quit.

4. Publishing, if I had those answers I’d have three published novels. 4. Never stop learning. ( I can write but I don’t know everything. Yeah. Okay.)

5. There are no rules for writing a poem. If you want to write a particular kind of poem well then, yes, there are rules but otherwise, there are no rules for writing a poem. Poetry is the art of the commoner, and good poetry even more so. Do not let anyone pollute it for you with over education or intellectualization. ( Don’t be a afraid to make up a word now and then.)

6. Is this a story that I am proud of?
Set your own standards. Keep your own standards. Have standards. I wish I had asked myself that question a little sooner in all my thrashing about, but it is all learning and I’ll keep that knowledge.

7. Set your own goals.
What everyone else is doing? That’s good for them. What are you doing? “Getting your head right” is completely valid, so is cleaning out files and scrubbing the tub because that is sometimes where the next story begins. Have your own yardstick for success, otherwise the proverbial “they” will beat you to death with theirs.

8. Write about whatever you want to write about. Write with complete abandon.

9. Watch your tense.
I realize now that that particular piece of advice was the beginning of my undoing for a while, a few years of mess, because I started paying way too much attention to all the things that had come naturally too me as a writer prior to having heard it, things that I would have caught on the edit had I simply kept writing and trusted myself. It isn’t bad advice, in fact I probably learned more from than one piece of advice than any other, one way or another because it reminded me, or taught me, to look at things differently. The beginning of a sentence versus the end of the sentence, had, have, were, was, am, is, will be, should have, would, etc. It also taught quite a lot about perspective in terms of changing narrative perspectives, something I never would have attempted had I not temporarily become enthralled in ( obsessed with)  ideas about time within a story. Past, present, future. When. And how does that work into the story. I am, and will, ultimately continue to become a better writer because of it, I think…

10. If you’re going to get into making lists, go for nice, even number sets. A top ten is always good, a top five works too.

11. “This one goes to eleven.” Your rules for your writing will, and should be, your own.

There is no perfect, only your idea of it and what is perfect for you. There is no fearless. You will never be better than anyone else, there is no “the best,” there is only the best that you are capable of, and that may vary from one day to the next. You either write or you don’t. It is about being brave about a love of words.

 

“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage.”  Sydney Smith
Sincerely,

Teri Skultety

 

proof read. edit. etc. Edit again, you probably missed something. I re-edit things all the time.

Oh, and, possibly the most important thing that I’ve learned about writing, back up your work files. I’m on my third computer in five years. Backing up my writing files is a must.

Journeys End in Lovers Meeting; The Haunting of Hill House.




With “The Haunting of Hill House,” Shirley Jackson is often credited with having set the standard for Gothic haunted house stories and rightly so. Dr. Montague, with a questionably morbid curiosity that readers of the genre have come to take for granted in its necessity for creating the backbone of why any of the characters are there, wants to investigate Hill House.  Enter the invitees by application, Theodora, a vivacious woman, a possible telepath, who presents as being social and confident if not to the point of being intimidating in her ability to charm, we are uncertain if Theodora has any real interest in being there as such women are, it could all just be a lark for her, a non-plussed adventure because, well, what else was there to do and something exciting could happen. Luke, the heir to Hill House who provides arrogant annoyance, dipped in occasional smarm and the impetus for a romantic rivalry and competitiveness for his attention. And Eleanor, a potential “sensitive” who experienced unexplained phenomena during her youth and who, after many isolated by years of caring for her ailing mother, has become even more hyper aware of the underpinnings of the thinking of those around her and yet, strangely unable to read them accurately at times as the same isolation has created in her a modicum of self doubt. This is perhaps the most important element in the story for everything hinges on Eleanor’s grasp on reality. 
Shirley Jackson slowly draws us into the inner workings of the mind for what is an empty house but a hull waiting to be filled, its character drawn out by whoever crosses its threshold? The history of Hill House is revealed to us with all of the prerequisite mysterious deaths of the past presented in properly macabre shadings so as to set the standard and establish the cliche but what is different about this book is that direct address of that cliche as it throws the door wide open for the possibility that these guests won’t be scared by it all for they do know that they have entered a “haunted house” to begin with. What is then illustrated to us is how the perspective of one person can color the landscape as it is Eleanor who lends herself to the haunting in her awareness of it and while it begins to seem at moments that perhaps she is being toyed with, the other side of that coin is that Eleanor has become an unwitting accomplice to the ghosts of the past in Hill House as it is she who is actually the most powerful of all the guests and yet made weak somehow in her lack of awareness as to that fact.
Such is the definitive nature of the haunted house story and here is where and why this book is considered by many to have set the standard, because there’s no such thing as ghosts, silly, and we as readers, while willing to accept a certain level of fantasy as reality going in, knowing that we are reading a story and are wanting still something plausible to take us all the way there and keep us from setting aside the book until its end. That something is the potential of madness but that too must be made believable, understandable, we must be able to relate to it so that by the time we get to the more fantastical elements of the story, we are all in.  Jackson provides everything on the checklist, creepy old house with previous mysterious deaths, strange caretakers who are laughable and laughed  at in their rigidity because you won’t be laughing later because they know what you don’t and dinner is set when it is set and Mrs. Dudley will clear the dishes in the morning, Dr. Montague himself is nothing less than a cliche of the ever curious, over intellectualized…intellectual…who finds that he must play with the fire of a supernatural mystery as what is left in the regular world that would be so interesting as watching his three chosen specimens squirm. Jackson creates a microcosm of society within the walls of Hill House with these few characters and we believe and wonder because we think we know the “type.” However this is done so skillfully, with an obviousness that becomes subtle as it turns in on itself, that the reader is unaware of what it is that they have been pulled into, it’s just a haunted house story, after all, one that you won’t be able to let go of.
 Hill House is a killer lying in wait, getting to know its intended victims by allowing them to think that they are getting to know it. Jackson takes us inside the catacombs of Eleanor’s mind, layering the story with altered perspectives and slowly deteriorating perceptions. Is it the house or is it Eleanor? Is it an elaborate prank gone wrong perhaps perpetrated on Eleanor in all of her longing? Why does Eleanor ignore her initial instinct that she should flee? Because she wants what somewhere deep in each of us we all want, or think that we do, a place to belong, a place to call home and people to belong there with. With the steady refrain through Eleanor’s thinking of a line from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” we are drawn into the power of Eleanor’s secret hope, “Journey’s end in lovers meeting”  and the unfolding of her potential destiny as a permanent resident of the world of Hill House. 
 A perfect story for Halloween reading!
~ T.S.
From Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

The Clown, Singing…

O mistress mine, where are you roaming,
O stay and hear, your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low,
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know

What is love? tis not hereafter,
Present mirth hath present laughter,
What’s to come is still unsure,
In delay there lies no plenty,
Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

The Latest Fashion.

 

“For an artist virtue can be deadly. The urge toward respectability and maturity can be stultifying even fatal. We strive to be good, to be nice, to be of service, of the world. But what we really want is to be left alone. When we cannot get others to leave us alone, we eventually abandon ourselves. To others we may look like we are there. We may act like we are there. But our true self has gone underground.” ~ Julia Cameron, The Artists Way

Ms. Cameron isn’t necessarily talking about being literally left alone in the physical sense although that can be part of it, she is talking about being “free” of the pestering demands of a world that seeks to preach and prod all of humanity into what it deems an “acceptable conformity” of placid, homogenized blankness, a veritable frontal lobotomy of sameness from which the creative true self will retreat as a matter of the true definition of what is “self-preservation.”  ~

It is human nature and a built in device of self protectiveness that if repeatedly bludgeoned with the message that who or what a person is, is unacceptable to whatever sphere they are in that they will usually then adapt to, accept and sometimes even adopt the behavior of the group even if they think, find or know that behavior to be abhorrent , or ” wrong,”  or even if the behavior runs completely counter to who they are as people, for fear of being driven out and left on their own. However, it is almost always, ironically, those who are able to stand their ground as individuals, around whom new worlds are formed, worlds that move us forward, worlds of invention, creativity, intelligence and cure. You cannot change the status quo, by adherence to the status quo.

The issue for the artist, however, is often that they really may have no particular interest in changing the status quo or anything of the kind, only that they wish to be accepted as they are and let be to create their art in peace, and to share it in joy when they choose to. However, the “world” often instinctively fears these creative people by virtue of their very existence, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually done anything to upset the so-called “herd,” as being a threat to the established order. Societies, social structures, worship control and fear change. Because what people really fear, isn’t that someone else might be different from they are, they fear that that difference might somehow mean that they themselves are “wrong” in some way, people take it personally and think that someone being different is somehow a judgement of them. “What do you mean you’re wearing bell bottoms? Skinny jeans are what’s in! I’ve got ten pairs of them! Oh my God, who does she think she is?” Most people want affirmation and validation from others, from the “group,” they want the status quo. I think that most introverts don’t seek that same kind of validation or “approval” only to have it be “acceptable” that they prefer to be left to their own devices, to be “left alone” from that pestering. And none are then often so reviled and then revered as those who “dare to be different” or those who simply are different and cannot help it, or hide it, the people who are the first to do something or who do things first.

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made, after all, what is a sun-dial in the shade?” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Can the same be said of the truth of one’s self?

Ironically, this sometimes happens in packs of wild artists too, this fear of anything, or anyone that is maybe ” too different” or perhaps too much of a mystery, that’s out, you know? Being a “normal artist type” is in right now and being a truly introverted “different” type is out. So this sometimes happens in packs of wild artists too, where you’d think that introverts would be at least accepted as such. Thus you do not much see the novelist working quietly in the corner of a crowded bar or the painter producing warehouses full work while attending parties. Doesn’t mean that it isn’t nice to be invited, doesn’t mean that they don’t ever want to attend, it simply means they are dancing to their own tune, and that is not to disparage the tunes of others. We don’t all have the same favorite song.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”  ~ Henry David Thoreau

I wrote something yesterday about my love of thrift stores and the treasures that I often find and didn’t realize until after I wrote it that parts of it could have been perceived the wrong way, it flat-out “read wrong” in places and so it needed to be edited and that’s fine, goes with the territory. But in the interim, my feelings were hurt and perhaps to the delight of many that will make me less likely to let fly with things of a seemingly more personal nature. That is upsetting to me also because I like to just rail about things sometimes or make my trivial lists of things that I love or that I think are cool and I like to share them, not for validation but because I like to read those kinds of things when others write them and how wonderful to share a discovery or an idea that maybe someone else can get off on too, find some entertainment or enjoyment in? Say “Hey…I hadn’t thought of that! I’ll check that out!” or what a good idea! Or maybe even find some comfort in, “I’ve felt that way too.” Solace. So it’s kind of creatively stifling when that happens, I feel that sense of wanting to be left to my own devices as it were and to retreat. I’ll likely bounce back from it and let fly again at some point but with trepidation. I was reminded of the Julia Cameron quote.

I think there are two basic kinds of creative types with a variety of others within the spectrum. I think there’s the “I LOVE A PARADE” creative, performer type, who can’t wait to get on stage and hear the applause, they have no problem writing the play and starring in it, and that’s great, that’s wonderful and so good for them. I begrudge them nothing. And  I think there are those of us who want to do what we do, write, paint, and maybe aren’t ever quite as comfortable with being looked at so directly, which seems to run counter to the goal of the thing in some way. The first poetry reading that I ever participated in was the second to last because at the second poetry reading I participated in I was swarmed afterward by people wanting copies of the work and asking me questions. It was a long time ago, I was younger and really pretty which is what I tell myself accounted for most of it but the truth is that if what I’d read/written hadn’t been any good, then “pretty” wouldn’t have mattered much with that group. I thought I had “stage fright” and I did not consider myself to be an introvert, but have finally asked myself, did I like being on stage? Did I want to be on stage, was I excited about it and looking forward to it and then, just nervous? I  realized that I didn’t and don’t like being on “stage” as it were and I never have.  I’ve also realized that I have long bristled at any inference of shyness and then hurt at comments like “getting you to talk was like pulling teeth.” I don’t know that I’m all that shy. I know I’ve oft been exhausted by those who thought I should be “brought out of my shell” or fixed or corrected in my personage in some way because I kind of like spending time with…me. I have “abandoned” myself many times trying to “fit in” as it were and always with great pain, I have “abandoned” myself many times because it was conveyed to me that my introversion was deemed unacceptable. However, if you abandon yourself for long enough, to avoid the pain of that feeling, something else happens and then finally that pain becomes too great as well. You realize then also that people might not seem to know who you are, because who and where have really been? Underground? What difference does it make, if it hurts either way? Better then to find one’s own way to be, to live, as it isn’t the life of anyone else.

“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin

I can no longer abandon myself, I’m not sure what that means yet. It probably isn’t the latest fashion.

Teri Skultety

Poetica Erotica.

The Fall Of Man   

                    An Anonymous Poem

      A hand omnipotent, in endless space,
      From chaos, formed a world and found a place,
      Where, through the countless ages, yet unborn,
      A star might shine from dusk to rosy morn.
      Great mountains rose, majestic in their might,
      And sun-kissed hills, aglow with mellow light,
      And rippling streams went purling through the dales,
      To silver lakes that glistened in the vales.
      A subtle fragrance filled each shifting breeze,
      The scent of flowers in bloom and budding trees.
      So beautiful the earth, in Nature’s eyes,
      A soul was sent to dwell, in human guise,
      A form of god-like beauty and of might.
      To drink the sunshine and to dream at night,
      In those old days, when first the world began,
      Strange visions came to Nature’s first child, Man.
      Unclad and lone, he roved from spot to spot
      And longed and yearned for something which was not.
      Until, at last, a prayer went up to Heaven
      And Nature’s noblest gift to man was given:
      A gentle, throbbing, trembling, beauteous maid,
      Fair as the man, but with a softer shade,
      Endowed with beauty and a thousand charms
      That sought the sheltering clasp of loving arms.
      As children play, in childhood’s happy hours,
      They romped and played among the sylvan bowers,
      Or sported in the streams whose waters sweet
      Ran cool beneath the trees at Noonday’s heat.
      And when night’s sable banners were unfurled
      And darkness wound her arms about the world,
      On beds of roses, in some vine-clad nest,
      Their drowsy senses found untroubled rest
      And wandering zephyrs swept across them there,
      Unclad, but unashamed, in Eden fair.
      No thought had come to them of wild desire
      And yet, at times, a smouldering, hidden fire
      Seemed slumbering deep within and fiercer burned.
      When, in their sleep, they toward each other turned,
      One ambient night of blissful summer-time,
      A perfect night of Eden’s balmy clime,
      Eve stretched her languorous limbs in restless sleep
      And Adam, at her side, sought slumber deep.
      Some trifling thing, perhaps a wind-swayed fern,
      A leaf–a bird–caused both of them to turn.
      Eve’s rounded arm was thrown above her head,
      Her dimpled knee, just lifted from its bed,
      When, by this chance, this trifle, light as air,
      Their warm lips met, and, trembling, lingered there.
      They slept no more from dusk to rosy dawn,
      ‘Mongst roses red or on some grassy lawn,
      But wakened often, from strange dreams of bliss,
      To find their mouths all melting in a kiss.
      Their hearts were filled with vague, unknown desire,
      Nor knew they how to quench the wondrous fire.
      A wild unrest upon them settled down
      And Adam’s brow would often wear a frown,
      And then again, he’d stroke her glorious hair
      And gaze into her eyes and call her fair,
      Then clasp her fiercely, with encircling arm,
      As though to shield her from impending harm,
      Then wildly kiss her–eyes–mouth–neck and breast,
      While she against him, tightly, closely press’t.
      Still waited, hungered, starved for something more.
      Yet little knew what nature had in store.
      Just how the fall occurred, so long ago,
      The modern world should naturally know.
      Not touching on his grievous fall from grace,
      But just a hint at what we knoe took place,
      And if his fall was premature, what then!
      That sometimes happens to the best of men.
       
      Eve’s little, truant, tapering fingers slim,
      Beloved of Adam and caressed by him,
      By accident, one night, grew wondrous wise,
      And found just where the trees of knowledge rise.
       
      Amazed, surprised, confounded, if you please,
      But, womanlike, inclined a bit to tease,
      She tried experiments of many a kind,
      To learn by which she most delight could find.
      And Adam, dizzy with her new-found charms,
      Gave way to every pressure of her arms
      And gave her childish innocence full sway,
      Nor cared to check her or to say her: “Nay.”
      Then suddenly, with savage, passionate clasp,
      She drew him to her with an eager grasp
      And sank exhausted, yet with cheeks aflame,
      A thrill with feelings which she could not name
      And Adam, swept away, on seas of bliss,
      Poured all his soul in one, long, clinging kiss.
      ‘T was pain, ‘t was pleasure, ‘t was a joy intense.
      It seemed as though along each quivering sense,
      Swift rivulets of fire had found their way
      And burned their hearts. The knew not night nor day,
      Nor life, nor death, nor aught that mortals know.
      They only knew they loved each other so.
      Nor dreamed they, even yet, of further joy,
      The one swift dream that comes without alloy,
      And blends two loving natures into one,
      Too sweet to last–that ends ere ’tis begun.
      It came to them like lightning from the sky.
      Each thought the very hour of death was nigh,
      Yet longed to live. Delirious pain
      Went sweeping through their inmost souls again
      And black oblivion brooded for an hour,
      O’er passion’s birth in Eden’s rosy bower.
      And when, at last, Eve wakened from her swoon,
      The night had fled. The glare of Eden’s noon
      Sent showers of golden light through wavering trees,
      And subtle fragrance lingered on the breeze.
      Throughout the realm of Eden’s joyous bower,
      All things that lived were happy in that hour,
      For, led by sweet desire, example given,
      They found, on earth, the one foretaste of Heaven.
      And since you must know all there is to know,
      When Eve awakened, in a blushing glow,
      Her thirst for knowledge, seeking to know all,
      Discovered first the secret of the fall.
      She sought the source of her new-found delight.
      Turned pale, grew faint and trembled at the sight.
       
      The Tree of Knowledge stood–ah! yes, it stood.
      Past tense, you see–and while the past was good,
      The present need was great, without a doubt
      And pretty Eve began to fret and pout.
      She wept and sighed and said “I see it all,
      For here was death and there, alas! the fall.”
      From Poetica Erotica, edited by T.R. Smith